0729 Firestone

Bob Starns, front, helps student Jared Meadows pick out school supplies at Wal-Mart in Williamsburg. Firestone Industrial Products annually purchases school supplies for students whose families may not be able to afford them.

By Sean Bailey / Staff Writer

The Wal-Mart in Williamsburg has three aisles for school supplies and Monday they were packed with people, many of whom are Firestone employees — and none of whom are exactly “school-aged.”

Every year Firestone employees help buy school supplies for local kids who can’t afford them on their own.

“God bless you, they need so much for school these days! Between this and clothes, it’s expensive,” said Beulah Lawson, whose sons were picking out school supplies.

“Well, I can’t imagine gas prices are helping at all either,” said Firestone Industrial Products employee Bob Starns, who was helping Lawson’s and her daughter Mary Meadows’ sons shop for school supplies.

“I’m here to just help out. With prices raising all over the place people just need a little help, and school supplies are a necessity,” Starns said.

Don Guilkey, plant manager at Firestone, said his company gets the school supply lists from local schools and a list of students who school counselors think might need help buying supplies.

“It’s a lot of fun for us. Our employees get to donate their time and money and give back to the community to make a positive impact,” Guilkey said.

Meadows said Firestone’s help was exactly what they needed.

“We’re so appreciative, this helps out a whole lot,” Meadows said.

Besides getting the usual pens, pencils and notebooks, the kids also get a Firestone backpack.

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