‘Shopping Local’ for the Benefit of Southington Schools

Southington residents, school officials have partnered together to create “Free Money,” a program that will use sales bonus partnerships with four store chains to bring money and equipment to local schools and their students.

You buy groceries regularly, shop for toiletries and incidentals at local grocery stores and chains including , , Shop-Rite and . So why not turn those trips to the store into some free money for local schools at no charge to you?

Southington schools and parent-teacher organizations across town are coming together in support of initiative organized by local resident Art Cyr designed to bring free money to local schools.

“The program is a concept I’ve titled ‘Free Money’ because that’s what it is,” Cyr said during a presentation to the PTOs on Tuesday at . “The participating stores already have programs in place, but we as a community have failed to take advantage of them.”

“Free Money” is a joint awareness effort in which residents can sign-up for programs where they already shop and help earn credit for local schools at no cost to them. Many of these programs are already in place.

Stop & Shop currently hosts the A+ Rewards program, Price Chopper runs “Tools for Schools” and Shop-Rite hosts the “Shop Rite for Education” program. At Target, 1 percent of all purchases made with a red card can go back to a local school as well.

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Participation is easy.

Those familiar with programs such as Stop & Shop’s “gas rewards” will see the same kind of results including no change in the way they go about their business, Cyr said. Residents just enter the code for their school of choice and then go about their regular routines and shopping patterns – the only difference is that every item you purchase could mean credit for a town school.

For a complete list of codes for local schools, .

School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said the new initiative was something that started with the district’s annual spring luncheon at Hawk’s Landing Country Club earlier this year. Cyr, who attended, heard about the benefits of the A+ program but wanted to learn how the town could do more.

Erardi said with the help of Cyr, who visited each local establishment, the town has found a way to earn a seemingly endless amount of free money.

“This is something that has zero cost to our residents with the potential for great benefit to our schools. It’s a win-win,” Erardi said.

Cyr said he hopes that the town will see a double in its return over the next year, as well as doubling it again during the 2013-14 school year.

“For all the points and products the town has received to date, we’ve still missed 75 percent of what is available. It’s time to get everyone onboard. It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s free,” he said.

For more information, visit each of the websites included in the flyer (PDF version above).

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