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A pleasant surprise

November 9, 2011
WESTFIELD — It was an unexpected surprise.

The Westfield Academy and Central School was visited by employees of the Lakewood Office Max who donated around $800 worth of supplies on behalf of the corporation. The supplies include storybooks, supplemental workbooks, books, staplers, post-its, laser printer paper, even an AV cart valued at around $300 and much more.

“I was really surprised,” WACS Secondary Principal Ivana Hite said, noting she was having one of those busy days where she felt like she was on rollerblades. “It actually put me to a halt. … It was just what I needed that day.”

When Assistant Store Manager Peter Weinreich and Office Max employee Debbie Pusbach, who has two children attending WACS and is from Westfield, delivered the supplies to the school and Hite got a chance to look through the items, she said she pictured specific items for specific students and it put a smile on her face. The unexpected gift put a smile on her face.

“It’s so nice to know there’s an organization out there thinking about the districts,” Hite said. “Everybody throughout the school year is in need of something.”

“It’s a great program,” Weinreich said. “It’s fun. Our staff gets really behind it.”

According to Weinreich, this donation process by Office Max began a few years ago when the company got permission to donate merchandise that was slated for destruction. Each store saves up this merchandise and, once there is a sizeable amount, it is delivered to Tier 1 schools, or schools which receive Federal funding. This includes every public school in Chautauqua County.

“As things come in, rather than just throwing things away or destroying things we figure out what’s going to be valuable to a school we save it,” Weinreich said. “As we get enough of it, we just got from district to district to district making donations.”

On average, Weinreich said the Lakewood Office Max donates $4,000 to $5,000 per year, delivering to districts between three and five times a year. The employees who deliver the items to the various districts do so on their own time and their own gas. In addition to Westfield, Weinreich and Pusbach also stopped by Ripley Central School and made a donation to that district as well.

“We’re trying to just sort of spread the wealth as fairly as we can throughout the county,” Weinreich said. “It’s part of what Office Max has been doing (for four years). …I love it when you’re able to let people know that you’re doing something, that you’re getting out there and the classrooms are happy, the principals are happy and you’re able to let them know there’s a lot of programs that we do run through Office Max that are there for them to be able to use and for their teachers to use.”

One of those programs is called A Day Made Better where teachers are nominated by their principals and one is chosen each year to receive $1,000 worth of supplies for their classroom. In addition, Office Max employees have started putting together $1, $3 and $5 bags of supplies for shoppers to purchase which will then be donated to the winning teacher’s school. This year’s winning teacher was from Panama and the extra money raised totaled $1,200. The program’s website is which has more information on the program as well as pictures of past winners.

As for the donation to Westfield, the boxes are stacked in Hites’s office where she is working on inventorying and distributing the donated items all over the district.

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Article Photos

Submitted photo
The Westfield Academy and Central School district was surprised by Office Max recently with a donation of hundreds of dollars of school supplies. Assistant Store Manager Peter Weinreich, Office Max employee and Westfield resident Debbie Pusbach , WACS Interim Superintendent Margaret Sauer and WACS Secondary Principal Ivana Hite show off just some of the goodies received.



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