GREAT FALLS — "Project Sweatshirt" happened at two Great Falls schools on Thursday, with hundreds of kids receiving sweatshirts bearing their school logo.
The project was created by Montana Rail Link in 2013; the next year, MRL partnered with the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation to expand the program to include several of the other Washington Companies, including Montana Resources and Modern Machinery. Each company determines which schools and grade levels they would like to buy sweatshirts for, and a company representative works with the schools to determine the design and order quantity.
Modern Machinery is a heavy equipment dealer that services many customers in the Great Falls area. At the request of sales manager Ryan Rich, two Great Falls schools were selected. Rich said, "In the community is where we live and work, and I live in Great Falls, my kids either went to Great Falls Public School or graduated from public schools and we are just happy to be able to give back. This year we have picked a couple of schools and seeing the kids faces and how thankful they were they made it all worthwhile.”
On Thursday, Longfellow Elementary School received 420 sweatshirts for students and staff, and Whittier Elementary School received 350 sweatshirts for students and staff.
Corey Smith, Whittier principal, said, “If we have the community coming together to work with our kids, we know that we can achieve higher grades. We know that kids come to school more, we know that kids will graduate more, so it really takes all of us coming together."
GFPS superintendent Tom Moore said, "Really gracious to Great Falls today, over 600 sweatshirts given to Longfellow and Whittier, kind of a pre-Christmas gift to them with their schools logos on them. Tremendous outreach of giving and you know it’s a lot more blessed to give then receive."