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Class of 2023 benefits from local store's Back to School fundraiser

First-grade team leader Carmel Lunt unwraps the digital camera given to the Class of 2023 by Tommy Hilfiger. Meghan Siegler. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010
NORTHFIELD — The Class of 2023 at Union Sanborn School had some gifts waiting when school started Monday, thanks to a Back to School supply drive at the Tilton Tommy Hilfiger outlet store.

Along with some folders, colored pencils and an assortment of other traditional school supplies, the employees at Tommy Hilfiger also purchased a digital camera for the class.

Assistant Store Manager John Foley said the store's associates worked on fundraising throughout the summer.

"We started this as a supply drive, but we didn't want to load (teachers) down with reams of paper they didn't need," Foley said.

Instead, the store started focusing on raising money and got to work talking to the first-grade team to see what they could use.

"It's tough getting a hold of teachers during the summer," Foley joked. "They're on the Cape … they're wearing flip flops."

Foley said that when the idea for this Back to School fundraiser came up, he immediately thought of the first-grade team at Union Sanborn because his daughter had had team leader Carmel Lunt as a teacher. Since the store made that designation, Foley and Lunt worked together to decide what the school could use the most.

"Carmel Lunt really gets the credit for that," USS Principal Tim Neville said of the relationship that's developed between the school and Tommy Hilfiger.

Likewise, Store Manager Harris Hummel gave credit to Foley for his work in putting the Back to School drive together. Foley said that due to budgetary cutbacks, the teachers need to spend their own money to stock their classrooms.

"The fact that you guys are shelling out your own funds to give these kids a great education, that's amazing," Foley said.

The digital camera was purchased at the Tilton Walmart, which gave the Tommy Hilfiger crew a discount to help support the cause.

First-grade teacher Summer Capra said getting the camera is perfect timing and will fit in well with their science curriculum and use of their new Smartboard.

"Carmel and I have been working a lot with technology," Capra said.

After a round of thank-you's, Neville invited the Tommy Hilfiger employees to come into the classrooms more regularly as volunteers.

"It doesn't have to stop here," Neville said. "That's how we keep that community connection."

Lunt said it would be nice if all the outlet stores got involved with the local schools, and Foley agreed.

"Now more than at any point in the last 15 years school teachers and administrators need local companies to help in the communities so that all children get a chance to truly enjoy their educational experience," he said.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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