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Celebrating with service: Belk volunteers help at Helmwood Heights for company's 125th anniversary

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By Kelly Cantrall

A local department store spruced up an elementary school in Elizabethtown as an anniversary present to the community.

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Volunteers from Belk in Elizabethtown and Hands On Nashville, an agency that coordinates volunteerism projects, offered their time and services Monday to Helmwood Heights Elementary School. The volunteer project is part of Belk’s 125 Days of Service, a celebration of the department store’s 125th anniversary.

Belk’s headquarters are partnering with the national Hands On organizations to perform service projects around the country. Helmwood Heights is one of four projects in Kentucky this week, said Tara Tenorio, corporate relations and special events manager at Hands On Nashville.

Volunteers built a picnic table, assembled and painted bookshelves and created wall art for the school.

Matthew Bargoil, manager of the local store, said he asked for volunteers among his employees.

“We had an immediate response,” he said.

Carrie Rhea, sales team manager, said she participates in a lot of community service projects. Residents should use their passions to help the community, because a thriving community is good for everyone, she said.

“We shouldn’t always have to be paid to do that,” Rhea said.

Sherry McLane, operations team manager, felt similarly about helping Elizabethtown.

“I’ve always lived in the community,” McLane said. “I probably know a lot of the kids who go here.”

Helmwood Principal Michelle Hart said finding outside resources for the school sometimes can be difficult.

“To have a community member come and say, ‘Hey, we want to help you,’ is amazing,” Hart said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.