Sampson Middle band will benefit from Food Lion grant

Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer

November 12, 2013

Sampson Middle School will have the opportunity to purchase new band equipment soon with the help of a contest sponsored by Food Lion. The Clinton City middle school was a grant recipient, garnering $25,000.

Vevlyn Lowe, Sampson Middle School’s band director, is in charge of the program for the school and has been for several years. It was Lowe who got the school involved in the Classroom Rewards contest.

“Parents are able to register their MVP card for Food Lion online to support the school or organization of their choice,” said Lowe in an interview Thursday at the school.

“We have been participating in the MVP card registration program for several years,” she said. The program helps schools buy needed supplies to facilitate learning for the students. She said the community has shown great support in this program.

Sampson Middle School won a campaign sponsored by Food Lion to “Pack in the Savings” and ended up receiving a grant for $25,000 as the grand prize winner for the Mid-Atlantic Division. The campaign, which lasted three weeks, allowed the school to receive the grant to use towards school classroom supplies. During the campaign the customers purchased specifically marked items that Food Lion had selected and used their registered MVP card to receive savings to help the school win the grant. The cards had to be registered online prior to being eligible to participate. Food Lion awarded 12 grants to schools in the Classroom Rewards program in the store’s operating area, according to a prepared press release.

“Our community made this happen,” Lowe stressed. “Parents of students, their grandparents, their neighbors, they are the ones that made this happen for the school. As of right now there are 800 people in the community that have registered their MVP card for Sampson Middle School.

The schools that purchased the most of the specifically labeled items from Aug. 7 to 27 won in their division. The amount of the cash grants ranged from $5,000 to $25,000. The official rules for the program stated that the purchased products were counted on a point system by the shopper using their MVP card, and the schools that had the most participation via the highest number of points accrued by their supporters were the winners of the grant. This grant enables the winners to purchase needed supplies. Shoppers who had their card linked to the program and purchased the products allowed their school to receive one point for every dollar spent on those products.

This program for the “Pack in the Savings” campaign began before school had even started, said Lowe. She happened to enroll the school into the particular program over the summer which allowed them to participate.

“The school family is excited and shocked that we won,” said Lowe. She said that this is one of the favorite fundraisers for the school according to the parents she has talked to since it does not involve door-to-door sales or purchasing things that may not be needed at home.

“This is the best fundraiser I have ever done,” said Lowe. She explained that the easy nature of the program makes it a win-win for both the students and their families. She said that she has to present a budget to the principal before the money can be spent.

She has plans on how she wants the money allocated for the band program. She hopes to purchase new computers for the students, new band chairs specifically for musical instrument playing, a new tuba, as well as a new French horn for the students to use. She is waiting on estimates for the chairs before making a determination. All of the purchases must be approved prior through the principal before any purchases can be made.

Lowe holds a Masters Degree in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy from Florida State University. Her undergraduate degree is in Music Education with her certification in School Administration coming from East Carolina University. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher and has served as a National Board Assessor summer 2009, 2010, and 2011. She can be reached by calling Sampson Middle School at 910-592-3327.

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at