Belk donates 500 uniforms to county students

Aug. 02, 2014 @ 04:33 PM

On Friday, Belk donated thousands of new school uniforms to students in need in the region, it is the fourth year the department store ha s done so in conjunction with United Way of Central Carolinas.

In Union County, students received 500 donated uniforms. They were given to the YWCA and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. Among other schools, they were donated to students at Benton Heights Elementary School, East Elementary School, Rock Rest Elementary School and Walter Bickett Elementary School.

Over the past four years, Belk has donated more than 12,000 two-piece uniforms, retailing nearly $650,000.

“The children that United Way agencies work with just need someone to hold their hand and tell them that they matter, and that’s exactly what Belk has done with these uniforms, over and above their generous employee and corporate donations,” Kirsten Sikkelee, chief executive officer of YWCA Central Carolinas, said in a statement. “School uniforms improve self-esteem, which helps boost school attendance, which in turn impacts academic success. Every piece of the puzzle helps provide our community’s children the best possible chance to succeed in life.” 

For the first time, Belk has broadened its United Way partnership nationwide, through an in-store denim drive that begins today and runs through Sunday.

This year’s new component, an Aug. 1-3 jeans drive, allows customers to donate gently used jeans at any Belk store, for which they’ll receive a $5 coupon toward a new pair of junior jeans. Through local United Ways, Belk will then donate the denim to students in need — those who attend schools where uniforms are not mandatory.

“Back-to-school is a fun time of year for our customers, so when we can align that excitement with an opportunity to give back in the communities where we do business, it’s a perfect fit,” Adam Orvos, Belk’s chief financial officer, said

at a Friday event. “Belk consistently runs one of this United Way’s 10 largest campaigns because we believe in United Way’s impact on our hometown. United Way agencies not only help children who can’t afford uniforms, but they help parents find jobs, help the homeless find housing, and much more. We’re proud to do our part.”

One of United Way’s primary initiatives, a 10-year push to raise graduation rates for at-risk children and youths, is now expanding from Mecklenburg into Cabarrus and Union counties. Likewise, the Belk partnership began in Mecklenburg County, then included Cabarrus and Union as well.

Due to the success of the United Way partnership, Belk expanded the school uniform donation program to other Belk markets such as Savannah, Georgia, and Jackson, Mississippi.