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Georgia Natural Gas donates to schools

SUWANEE -- Signing up for Georgia Natural Gas' TrueBlue Schools program was a no-brainer, said Angie O'Farrell, Level Creek Elementary School's PTA vice president.

"It's free money out there, just waiting for people to grab it," she said. "I can't believe that more people don't take advantage of it. ... It doesn't cost them anything except a minute of their time."

Georgia Natural Gas' TrueBlue Schools program is a Georgia Partner in Education and actively supports the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia PTA and other organizations committed to developing healthy kids, schools and communities, according to a news release.

For each new Georgia Natural Gas customer that signs up through TrueBlue Schools, the gas company gives the selected school a $40 donation upon enrollment and then an additional $5 for each month the participant remains an active Georgia Natural Gas customer. That adds up to $100 per customer, per school in the first year.

Since Level Creek families joined the program nearly two years ago, Georgia Natural Gas has donated about $5,700 to the school, O'Farrell said. The money has allowed the school to purchase Mimio boards for every third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classroom. A Mimio board is educational technology that allows teachers and students to interact with a computer through the white board.

O'Farrell said the goal is to equip every classroom in the school with a Mimio board.

"In light of cutbacks, every school is hurting for funding," O'Farrell said. "I'm impressed that Georgia Natural Gas works so hard to give our communities ... money."

Georgia Natural Gas created TrueBlue Schools to provide an easy way for schools to raise money that directly benefits students and teachers in the classroom, the news release states.

The company's goal is to help Georgia schools earn $2 million, and already the company has donated more than $390,000 to 827 schools across the state. Schools are using TrueBlue Schools' funds for a variety of academic and enrichment projects from basics such as books and musical instruments, to playground equipment, smart boards and even environmental projects.

On Thursday, TrueBlue Schools will host the Learn, Earn & Burn Pep Rally for Georgia Education from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Big Atrium at Phipps Plaza. Pep rally attendees will have a chance to receive one of three donations for their school -- $1,000; $500; or a $250 gift certificate to The School Box.

"During the Learn, Earn & Burn Pep Rally, our community will come together and learn how to ensure our children are afforded the best academic opportunities," said Chef Marvin Woods, who will join TrueBlue Schools for the event. "Now, more than ever, it is important that everyone is active in supporting our children, our community and our environment."

For more information, visit www.TrueBlueSchools.com.