Throughout the month of October, participating Iowa grocers will be asking their customers in the checkout lane if they would like to donate $1 to help prevent bullying in Iowa schools.
That's a small amount to combat a big problem in Iowa. According to the 2012 Iowa Youth Survey, 57 percent of students said that they had been bullied at school in the last 30 days. That number was up from 50 percent in 2010.
The Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) teamed up with Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds recently to coordinate grocery retailers' efforts across the state.
"Bullying is a pervasive problem with far reaching effects, and grocers are eager to step up and help put a stop to it," said IGIA President Michelle Hurd. "When the governor's office approached us, we recognized immediately that we could have an impact. Everyone goes to the grocery store, and our members care about the communities in which they operate and are happy to help raise funds for such an important cause."
More than 260 retail members of the IGIA have joined the effort to date, according to Hurd.
The funds raised will help cover the cost of the Governor's Bullying Prevention Summit at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines and provide a bullying prevention education fund for Iowa schools. Schools will be able to apply for competitive grants for bullying prevention education. Grants will be distributed to rural, urban and suburban schools throughout Iowa.
"Every child deserves to feel valued and respected," Hurd said. "Bullying prevention should be a top priority for us all."
IGIA and retail representatives will be attending the Governor's Bullying Summit, Nov. 4, to announce the amount of funds raised. The summit, which will start at 9 a.m., at the Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, is open to the public.
This year's summit will encourage Iowans to get involved. Speakers will talk about ways that adults and students can make a difference and provide practical steps to address bullying. To learn more about the summit visit prevent bullying.iow.gov.