STOW — The opening of a new store brought with it financial gifts to two city institutions.
Meijer supercenter, which opened the doors at its Kent Road store on Tuesday, presented a $25,000 check to the Stow-Munroe Falls High School and a $5,000 check to Stow Bulldog Bags during its ribbon-cutting ceremony. The checks were presented by Stow Store Director Dessie Szklany.
Meijer donates more than 6 percent of its net profit to charitable organizations annually, and each of its stores work with local food banks and pantries to help fight hunger, according to information provided by the business.
Robert Gress, director of operations with the Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools, said the donation will go toward improvements in the high school cafeteria, "per Meijer’s wishes."
"Specifically, it will be utilized for a modernization of the Stow-Munroe Falls High School cafeteria to make it a more innovative space for our students and our community," Gress said. "The Commons open space is used often by the greater Stow community for civic events and meetings, so this will make a significant positive impact on our thousands of people from around the area. We plan to add tables that will make the space more ADA compliant, thus allowing students and community members with disabilities to feel welcome and included."
The school district also plans to add round tables "that provide an environment where people can see one another and communicate and collaborate better," Gress said.
"We would like to provide state-of-the-art tables that will display the school colors and will help to encourage school and community spirit," Gress added. "Specifically, we would like to incorporate modern tables and ADA models which will allow for flexible seating options for those that are disabled. We also envision adding tables that can be used as stand-around tables or have chairs around them for students to have a food court type of experience. These tables will allow for a number of eating and collaborative seating varieties to meet the demands of this multipurpose environment. Lastly, we plan to add a multipurpose mobile folding table, equally dressed in school colors with the school logo, to provide unique capabilities such as receiving tickets to events, intake at concessions, AV equipment placement, displays, and food service applications for the many events we host. In all, this gift from Meijer would not only transform our cafeteria, but it will leave an significant mark during the many times our community members are utilizing school space."
Gress said the district is "extremely grateful for Meijer's desire to make our high school, which is in many ways a civic center for our community, a place that is useful and inviting."
Jan Mather of Stow Bulldog Bags, a nonprofit program that supplies bags of food two Fridays a month to children on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program, said the organization budgets about $3,000 a month for the two packings, in addition to the food donations and free items from the food bank. On average, volunteers with Bulldog Bags pack about 550 to 575 bags per packing, filling bags with 10 to 12 items such as meals, snacks and personal hygiene items.
"Next year we will add 10th-grade eligible students," Mather said. "We don’t serve a number based on how much money. We will find a way to serve all who are in need. We are so grateful for such a caring community to embrace addressing food insecurity by supporting Bulldog Bags Inc. Meijer is a very community-minded business and is a great fit for Stow and Munroe Falls with their policy of giving back to the community."
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC