International Paper, the Coffee Shoppe among local companies donating book bags to Selma Schools

Published 11:21 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

The Coffee Shoppe and Selma Bridge Builders in collaboration with International Paper delivered 100 book bags to the Selma City School System. Each of the 10 schools received 10 book bags filled with specific items for each school and a dental pack donated by Tucker Family Dentistry.

The partnership with International Paper came when Smith reached out to longtime friend and International Paper employee, Carl Lewis.

“I first came to my mind when I looked at every school list and the common thread was copy paper,” Smith said. “I reached out to Carl Lewis and he spoke to upper management and they sent six or seven engineers to bring the paper and help stuff the bags.”

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Herman Turner Jr. started the Selma Bridge Builders in 2015 as a way to give back to connect young professionals in the city. He wanted the organization to help build community.

A product of both Selma Middle School, now R.B. Hudson Middle School, and Selma High School, Turner knows first-hand how important community involvement is for local youth.

“We want to try to give the students an opportunity to see people from Selma give back to the community,” Turner said.

His father was also an educator for 38 years, and Turner said the most important aspect of this giveaway is seeing and ensuring the youth are happy and have everything they need.

“Just to see a smile and a thank you, that within itself you will always remember, and they will always remember that,” Turner said.

After a company email was sent out to employees at International Paper asking for volunteers to help deliver back packs Katie Bearden and Tyler Brudofsky jumped at the opportunity.

Bearden, who went to Edgewood Elementary for Pre-k said when she moved back to the city she and her husband were looking for ways of giving back.

“When my husband and I moved back and were trying to get reintroduced with the community and seeing that the place I work with is reaching out to help the kids in the community it makes our choice of moving back worthwhile,” Bearden said.

As her mother is entering her 40th year of teaching, Bearden has seen a lot of the sacrifices teachers have to make for students whose families could not afford school supplies.

“There are students that don’t have school supplies and sometimes the school can’t help out, but I know the teachers like to help out and I know they are limited in how much they can give,” Bearden said. “So to have the businesses in the community come and help is awesome.”

She said being a part of one of those organizations that are so willing to invest in the youth is great, and she could not be prouder to work for the company.

“I think that it’s great that not only are they able to give, but International Paper is willing to give,” she said. “The people that work out there are from this community and have gone through these schools.”

Brudofsky said event though his roots aren’t in Selma it is a great welcoming feeling to know that the community is so grounded within one another. He said he was happy to be able to serve on behalf of the community.