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Shopko collects 1,500 signatures in support of local schools

Published 8:36am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Less than a week after launch, Shopko’s effort to collect 2,000 signatures from Dowagiac shoppers in support of the local school district is already nearing its goal.

Around 1,500 visitors have placed their John Hancock on the signature list at the Dowagiac Shopko Hometown store, located on Pokagon Street, according to assistant store manager Lisa Burden. For each signature collected, the department store will donate $1 to the Dowagiac Union School district, for a maximum of $2,000.

“[The initiative] is going wonderfully,” Burden said. “The response from the community has been super, super positive.”

The Dowagiac Shopko is one of 181 Hometown stores participating in the program, which the company is calling “Help Us Give Back.” The store chain is hoping to donate more than $360,000 to school districts in the 17 states its stores are located in.

Part of the reason for the immediate success of the effort here in Dowagiac is due to the ease of customer participation, Burden said. The signature form is located right at the checkout register, and employees are encouraged to ask customers to simply add their signature to the list.

“A first, most of our customers are a little shocked that we’re not asking them for a donation,” Burden said. “All we require is their signature.”

Customers can sign their name to the list once a day, every day through Dec. 24, when the program ends. While this could result in only a handful of unique contributors,

Burden said that her store’s list has been signed by a large number of shoppers.

“There’s been a massive variety, with nearly everyone who comes through giving their signature, from inside and outside the community,” Burden said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of duplicates.”

While this is the first time that ShopKo has offered this sort of donation program to Dowagiac schools, Burden said that the company regularly reaches out to the local community. Most recently, the company donated $1,000 to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, Burden said.

“I like working for a company that gives back,” Burden said. “They are very pro-community, and they instill that in their employees.”

The Pokagon Street ShopKo was opened last year. The building was one of 19 Pamida department stores the company converted into one of its Hometown locations.

Burden, who has worked at the location for eight years, said she is especially impressed by ShopKo’s latest donation program.

“The fact that they’re donating money to schools means a lot to me, as a mother and grandmother,” she said.

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