Kicking off the KloecknerCares initiative, a recent book drive at Kloeckner Metals’ corporate office managed to raise around 1,400 books for Esther Jackson Elementary School in Roswell. As a result, the kids at the school will now be able to take home two books of their choice for the summer. At the end of the year, there will be a book fair where the children can come and shop for books divided by grade level. The best part is that the students get to keep the books.
“Everybody really got into it,” said Sustainability Process Manager Bonnie Stewart. “This was our first formal initiative for doing something within our local community, and we thought this would get the employees involved, and we weren’t right out of the chute trying to take on the world.”
Located just a mile or two from Kloeckner Metals USA’s corporate headquarters, Esther Jackson Elementary is a Title One school, meaning that they receive federal aid for meals programs. They do not receive federal aid, however, for supplies. Many of the students don’t even have one book to call their own, and now they will be able to take home two to keep.
“Many of us, myself included, didn’t fully understand what being a Title One school meant,” Stewart said. “This school is in an area where if you did a drive-by, you wouldn’t necessarily think that it was Title One. It opens your eyes.”
In addition to the books, Kloeckner’s CEO approved a one-time cash donation of $500 from the company. This money will go to the teachers to give them the opportunity to go to the book fair through Scholastic as teachers and get two for one. The CEO also went to drop off the books at the elementary school personally with a few other Kloeckner employees.
“It was really fun,” Stewart said. “These children were adorable. Almost all of them said, ‘I’m three-quarters of the way through kindergarten,’ or ‘I’m three-quarters of the way to being a first grader.’ They were very excited.”
The book drive is just the first of many charity events with the KloecknerCares initiative. The plan is to start locally, as with the book drive, to begin getting people involved and personalize the charities. The various Kloeckner branches around the nation are also being encouraged to take on their own local charities. For example, the Shreveport, Louisiana branch has started a drive for the local Gingerbread House Children’s Advocacy Center. In the future, the KloecknerCares initiative hopes to do something more globally with a national reach, like Meals-On-Wheels or Habitat for Humanity.
“I think we will just continue to do more and more, and get more people involved, and that will be part of our culture,” Stewart said. “In addition to the business that we do, we want to be known as a company that cares. I think it is our responsibility as a company not just to employ people but to show we care and to give back to the community because we live here. We have to get our employees involve. We all should be aware of what is going on in our communities because it is pretty easy to isolate yourself from things around you. When you are exposed to things that are out there, human nature is that you want to try and help.”