South Charlotte

Ballantyne Color the Park Drive prompts overwhelming response

Employees of Remi, which has offices in Ballantyne Corporate Park, stand with donations company employees collected for the Color the Park school supplies drive.
Employees of Remi, which has offices in Ballantyne Corporate Park, stand with donations company employees collected for the Color the Park school supplies drive. BISSELL COS.

Thousands of students in the Charlotte area will be well-stocked with school supplies thanks to the Ballantyne Corporate Park’s annual Color the Park Drive.

Employees who work in the park donated thousands of markers, colored pencils, crayons and other school supplies to the drive that benefits Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students.

More than $4,000 also was collected.

“This year’s response was overwhelming,” Jennifer Daugherty, digital content manager for Remi, wrote in an email about her company’s efforts. Remi is an equipment-maintenance management provider in the corporate park.

“This year blew all previous records out of the water,” she said.

This year also marked the eighth annual Color the Park Drive. Over the years, the drive focused on coloring items, which teachers said they needed in the classroom, said Hailey Rorie, Bissell Corp. community director.

For the 2015 drive, Bissell Corp., which oversees Ballantyne Corporate Park and the Color the Park Drive, offered an online donation option. The company also heavily promoted the drive online.

Monetary and school-supply donations go to Classroom Central, a Charlotte-based nonprofit that collects and distributes free school supplies to impoverished students in local schools.

The drive netted more than 20,000 coloring supplies and 600 miscellaneous school supply items. Because Classroom Central can buy school supplies at a discounted price, the overall effect of the drive is that more than 41,000 school supplies will be given to students, Rorie said.

Classroom Central allows teachers to “shop” the school supplies for their students at its warehouse, Rorie said.

“It’s just such a wonderful cause, and we have a great partnership with Classroom Central,” Rorie said. “The teachers have mentioned to me that they almost get emotional when they go in to shop.”

Bissell staff placed donation bins in the lobby of every building in the corporate park, and some tenants offered incentives for employees to participate.

Remi offered team and individual competitions during Color the Park, with gifts cards and vacation days as prizes. This year, the company brought back the “friendly competition,” Daugherty said, and the team that donated the most coloring supplies won a day off.

Overall, the company’s four teams and other employees brought in about 10,000 packs of coloring supplies, well above the 1,000 packs in 2011 and the 3,477 packs in 2013, she said.

Extended Stay America in Ballantyne Corporate Park didn’t offer incentives to participate this year, but Ronnie Scarboro said she frequently asked employees who passed by her desk if they could.

“Our associates at Extended Stay America are very caring and extremely generous,” she wrote in an email. “I’ve never worked with a kinder group of people.”

In one week, Extended Stay America collected more than $1,000 in cash and more than 260 packs of markers, she said.

“We just continue to be so impressed and humbled by the generosity of our tenants,” Rorie said.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: