By Amy Schechter

Often, schools are faced with the reality of having to do more with less, but one local business is changing that for Symmes Elementary School in Riverview. Circle K at the corner of Bloomingdale Ave. and Watson Rd. is giving back a portion of profits in its Fueling Our Schools effort.

At Circle K, pumps nine and ten give one cent back to the school every day. Additionally, one night every quarter, they donate ten cents for all the pumps back to the school. Each quarter, Circle K will give up to $500 dollars back to the school. Nicole Bowser, the president of the Parent Teacher Association at Symmes, is excited to have received the maximum amount: “We’ve received a $1000 check for the first two quarters.” Circle K presented the check on the school’s morning show, and teachers and students are so very appreciative.

Bowser adds, “We are using their donated money to do things we didn’t think we could do and provide for the kids this year due to Hillsborough County budget cuts. For example, there’s a lot of technology that is out of date at school.” Symmes was selected out of many local schools who applied to the program, and the PTA directs the donations directly back to the kids using it to purchase i-Pads, sporting equipment, and school store items, which students can purchase with school money earned from incentives for grades and behavior.

Dennis Ihm, Circle K’s general manager, is so happy that his location was chosen to participate in the program: “We’re totally thrilled and excited to be helping the school system and the larger community. We’re relatively new, so we definitely wanted to become involved.” On quarterly Fueling Our Schools nights, Ihm sets up tents with specialty vendors and gives away $50 gift cards through raffles as another way to encourage community members to take part. Plus every day, he and Bowser definitely want people to pull up to pumps nine and ten brightly wrapped with Fueling Our Schools logos, so you know your money is going to a great cause.

Circle K #7645 is located at 11320 Bloomingdale Ave. in Riverview. For information on how Circle K is Fueling Our Schools, call 662-1274. For information on how you can partner with Symmes Elementary, contact the Symmes PTA at Check out the Fueling Our Schools initiative on Facebook

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