Businesses step up to the plate bigtime to help fund school supplies benefit

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William Allen School Principal Dustin Gray, left, and former William Allen School student Mary Welch outside the school that will be the first recipient of a benefit she started. (Rochester Voice file photo)

ROCHESTER - A fund-raising effort that will bring needed supplies to the William Allen Elementary School is gaining steam with more than a dozen area businesses already stepping up to the plate.

The effort originated with Rochester resident Mary Welch, who remembers how she struggled to pay for items needed to get her children ready for that first day of school.
Welch recently received what she called "a financial blessing" and immediately knew what she wanted to do.
"I wanted to give back to younger parents who are struggling just to pay for rent and food," she said.
The first recipient of her fund-raising will be the William Allen Elementary School she attended as a child.
The Victory Club, where she is a bartender, has partnered with Welch and will host a meat-bingo styled event on June 9 where the prizes will be doled out.

Wendy Davis, who often visits the Victory Club, has been a major assist to Welch in getting businesses to donate services and products for the meat bingo.
"She has been instrumental in getting some 90 percent of the donations," said Welch, who, herself, has donated more than $500.
Meat bingos are common at many of the area's fraternal clubs like the American Legion and the Milton Moose. The game is played using laminated three-card entries. A dealer then calls out cards from a shuffled deck, and the first player to get all three of their cards wins the meat, or in this case, valuable prizes.
Matthew Negm, president of the Victory Club, said that when he learned Welch was planning the fund-raising effort, he knew he wanted to back her efforts.
"Mary is passionate about giving back to the school system," he said. "When she told me what she wanted to do it really hit me and opened my eyes. I wanted to jump on board right away."
Negm said the nonprofit club would be a fund-raising hub for the effort through August.

Typical items schoolteachers need but don't often get are things like Kleenex, glue sticks, pencils, dry erasers, markers and white boards.

Some of the items to be won on June 9 include two state inspections at Hervey's Tire, Pampered Chef items plus gift card from Tanya Poole, complete car detailing from 603 Details LLC, two $50 gift cards from The City, $50 Amazon gift card, $100 Market Basket gift card, $50 Spaulding Steak & Ale gift card, $25 Jimmy Jones Locker gift card, $25 Little Miss Sophies gift card, Spa gift basket from Katie, a $70 annual subscription to The Rochester Voice, matching stainless steel mugs from Roxann Talbot, a gift card from Sanders Fish Market of Portsmouth and a gas gift card from George's Sunoco.

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