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BJ's Wholesale Club donated $4,000 in school supplies and gift cards.

UPublish story by Melinda Rice

PRESS RELEASE September 20, 2013


Project R.I.S.E. from Akron Public Schools

Contact Info:

Debra Manteghi, District Homeless Education Liaison and Project Manager / 330-761-2730

Rachel Breece, Child and Family Development Specialist / 330-761-2969

BJ’s Wholesale Club Donates $4,000 Worth of School Supplies and Gift Cards to Project RISE

This fall, many families experiencing homelessness in Akron can rest a little easier knowing their children are starting off the school year with the proper supplies and shoes. These school supplies and shoes were given out through Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education) and donated by BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Project RISE is a collaborative effort by Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the community to provide supplemental educational services to children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. According to Debra Manteghi, Project RISE Program Manager, over 1,200 homeless youth were identified during the 2012/2013 school year.

On September 10th, several Project RISE staff members and Community Partners gathered at BJ’s on Home Avenue to receive the generous donation. Representatives from Akron Public Schools and Project RISE were able to load the hefty donation into an APS delivery vehicle for transit to the Project RISE Clothing and Resource Room at Trinity United Church of Christ.

The Pastor of Trinity United Church, Reverend Carl Wallace, was also on-site at BJ’s that afternoon to help receive the supplies and show his support for Project RISE. About the donation, he said: “BJ’s could not have found a better part of the Akron Public Schools to donate to. Under the management of Debra Manteghi, these school supplies will be extremely well utilized. The Project RISE program is run exceedingly well overall and Trinity United Church of Christ is blessed to work with them.”

Melinda Rice, a Regional Community Affairs Specialist from BJ’s Wholesale Club, were also on site at BJ’s that day to meet Ms. Manteghi and the rest of the Project RISE Staff and Community Affiliates.

She explained that BJ’s has worked with several area non-profits. She went on to say that: “BJ’s has several community initiatives and one of the initiatives was to award school supplies to 2 entities in Northeast Ohio. BJ’s loves to give back and support the people who support them.” BJ’s also has an impressive Grant Foundation and this quarter, they gave out $22,000 in donations in this region alone. Project RISE was lucky enough to be the second recipient of a school supply donation of this magnitude from BJ’s.

This donation was in the value of $4,000, which will be extremely appreciated and well used by the homeless families. On September 12th, several of the Project RISE staff members, Akron Public Schools representatives and representatives from the church gathered at Trinity United Church to unload the donations. Before the scheduled drop off, a few Project RISE staff members went to BJ’s to purchase $1,000 worth of new shoes for the students using the gift cards.

For more information on Project RISE and how you can help, please contact Debra Manteghi at 330-761-2969 or For more information about BJ’s Charitable Foundation, please contact Melinda Rice at 216-269-2143 or on the web at

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