Food City’s School Bucks Challenge raises money for city and county schools

Published 8:55 am Monday, December 24, 2018

Schools raise money for programs every year through fundraisers of various kinds, but what if simply paying for your groceries every week could benefit your children’s education?

Food City sets aside $700,000 a year to go towards many Elizabethton and Carter County Schools, all based within a program called the School Bucks Challenge.

Danny Ward, Assistant Manager for Elizabethton’s Food City, said the company has ran the program for a number of years.

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The end of last year’s program let city schools earn $3,196 and county schools receive $7,327 in total.

“Principals can sign up their schools by contacting us to register,” Ward said. “After that, citizens can attach their ValuCard to a specific school.”

Once a customer has attached their card, every purchase made in the store, except gas points, go towards a point total for the school.

Ward said the program helps schools afford products and programs they would not be able to otherwise.

“They can use that money for whatever they need, from books to field trips,” he said.

Signing up a school for the program or a ValuCard costs principals and customers nothing, so Ward called participation a “no-brainer.”

He said Food City offers to give presentations to school boards and Parent-Teacher Association meetings all the time.

“Food City wants to help schools prosper,” Ward said.

Schools can sign up for the program at any point in the school, though Ward said they prefer schools sign up in the beginning of the school year so they can maximize their points.

At the end of the program, schools receive their checks a few months later, in November.

“Normally, we hand-deliver the checks, but this year we all met at Food City to give them out,” Ward said.

Though the principals are responsible for signing up their schools for the program, Ward said his favorite part about the process is seeing the students.

“I love getting to meet the kids and invite them to our store,” he said. “It creates a positive environment in the schools.”

Ward said the School Bucks Challenge is just one of many ways the company gets involved with the community, both in and outside the school system.

Schools interested in signing up for the program can contact School Buck Challenge by calling 800-232-0174 or by emailing Signing up for a ValuCard can be done right at the registers in the store. Customers can fill out a brief application and leave the store that day with a card.

“Food City cares about the community,” Ward said.