Pharmacy gives back to Alabaster students

For the last few weeks, Greg and Pam Wood’s garage in Alabaster has been full of boxes &045; boxes of crayons, boxes of scissors and boxes of Elmer’s School Glue that is.

Those school staples, bought in bulk, are scattered throughout the space usually reserved for vehicles. They are in the basement and kitchen of their home as well.

Three years ago, the Woods, owners of Wood Discount Pharmacy in Alabaster, decided they wanted to help their local schools.

The plan they hatched was to create school packs from the list of supplies that each school has for its pupils.

The supplies, usually about 15 to 20 items valued at around $30, are sold to the parents at wholesale plus $5.

This year, the Woods sold so many, 1,600, they had to hire 10 Thompson High School students to help them put the school packs together.

The extra $5, they decided, would be passed on to the schools in Alabaster: Thompson Middle, Thompson Intermediate, Meadow View Elementary, Creek View Elementary and Kingwood Christian (all willing participants).

The 1,600 school packs multiplied by $5 translates to about $8,200 distributed between the schools on a per pupil basis.

All five schools in turn promote the program to the parents and students.

&uot;We make it as easy for parents as possible. All the parents have to do is come in and tell us which school and which grade,&uot;

Pam said. &uot;The supplies they need are already packaged together, and then they are done with getting school supplies for their child.&uot;

The Woods guarantee their supplies are less expensive than at any other store.

If parents do find the items cheaper somewhere else, she said, &uot;We give them a free school pack.&uot;

Included in the school pack box is a free black binder, which Pam said usually costs about $13 at most retail stores. The binder is embroidered with Thompson (High School) Warriors on one side and Wood Pharmacy on the other.

The largest check, $2,600, went to the largest school, Thompson Middle.

Eddie Spears, TMS’ principal, was all smiles at a check presentation ceremony on Monday.

&uot;That’s a lot of money to make for us for just telling parents to go down to Woods Pharmacy,&uot; he said. &uot;We use this so that as many kids as possible have supplies each year.&uot;

Spears said school officials in Alabaster actively promote the program.

&uot;We put signs up at school; make calls during registration; we put it on the marquee,&uot; he said.

Spears called the school packs &uot;a labor of love&uot; by the Woods that is &uot;becoming a tradition in Alabaster.&uot;

Kingwood Christian headmaster Eric Harden, who was presented a check for $500, said his school recognized the program’s popularity and joined this year.

&uot;I think it is an excellent idea. It is good advertising for (Woods Pharmacy) as well as our school,&uot; he said. &uot;And parents can’t believe all of what is in the packs. This goes well beyond the call of duty by the Woods.&uot;

Pam said the school packs program hasn’t come without controversy, however.

A number of competing businesses in the &uot;back to school&uot; market are not happy, she said.

In fact, they have let her know they think she is undercutting the market by selling near wholesale.

&uot;We are sending the money to the schools. Why would you want to stop that?&uot; she questioned. &uot;It is definitely a cutthroat world.&uot;

But Glen, vice president of the Alabaster Business Association, said the program has been a good way to get people in their doors.

That’s just fine with Dr. Jody Brewer, principal of Meadow View who was presented a check for $1,400.

She said a good portion of the money will be used to develop a closed circuit television broadcast system in her school.

&uot;It is a wonderful program and a great community building opportunity.&uot;