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School Supply giveaway at Texas Zoo was success

By Gheni_Platenburg
Aug. 19, 2010 at 3:19 a.m.

Katie Yarborough, 6, and her 4-year-old brother, Andrew, gleefully hold bags full of school supplies at the Texas Zoo in Victoria on Thursday. The zoo partnered with Walmart to give away the school supplies. Students only had to pay admission to the zoo to receive the supplies.

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Lions, monkeys and colored pencils, oh my!

School-age youngsters who visited the Texas Zoo on Thursday received a lesson in zoology and free school supplies courtesy of the Texas Zoo and Walmart.

"At Walmart, we know that a strong business and a strong community go hand in hand, so we try to do our share to help," said Leo Vitiello, shift manager at Walmart. "The zoo is an important part of this community."

Walmart and the Texas Zoo partnered to give away free school supplies to all school-aged children with paid admission to the Texas Zoo between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Walmart representatives came equipped with 200 reusable shopping bags filled with a pencil box, regular and colored pencils and crayons for students in kindergarten through sixth-grade.

Meanwhile, for students in grades seven through 12, representatives had 100 bags, each filled with a binder, paper and pens, and ready to be dispersed.

Andrea Blomberg, executive director of the Texas Zoo, said the crowd turnout was good, but she thought it could have been better.

"We would have liked to have seen more people come," Blomberg said.

She said the nearly 90-degree-plus temperatures might have been a deterrent for some potential visitors.

Nonetheless, the event was deemed a success in Blomberg's eyes.

"Anytime we get more admissions to the zoo, it is a plus," she said. "There were new faces at the zoo today."

She continued, "And we got a lot of positive feedback."

First Convenience Bank also helped out with the event, providing free snacks and literature on student bank accounts to student zoo-goers.

School supply recipients, like 10-year-old Maloni Bargas, were grateful for what they received.

"It's nice for them to give us stuff," she said.

Bargas, a fifth-grader at Jackson Roosevelt Elementary School in Port Lavaca, said her favorite item was the pencil box.

"I chose hot pink because I wanted a girl color," she said.

Cris Perez, assistant director of New Horizons Day Care in Port Lavaca, said she was happy to see the giveaway.

"I was surprised. I thought it was just going to be some pencils, but it was a lot more," Perez said. "We're really appreciative. Parents already have to buy school clothes, so this helps out with their costs."

This year's successful giveaway event might not be the last.

"We're hoping to make this a yearly event," Vitiello said. "We want to do what we can to help out the schools and surrounding areas."

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