FARMINGTON -- Knowlton Elementary School parents raised $17,509 just by shopping at Smith's Food & Drug Centers.
The store chain donates $1 million a year to schools in several states, including Utah, through the "Earn and Learn Program" it started in 2000.
Knowlton Elementary Principal Grace Larsen said the amount raised in 2010-11 was the largest parents have raised in any school year.
Each year, parents who have students in schools that participate can sign up online using their Fresh Values card number, or go to a local Smith's, said Marsha Gilford, spokeswoman for Smith's Food and Drug Centers. Each time a parent or grandparent makes a purchase, the school gets a credit.
And at the end of the year, Smith's divides $1 million among the schools based on the number of times their parents shop.
"Knowlton is one of our top-earning schools," Gilford said.
Larsen said it's an easy fundraiser.
The school's community council votes on how to use the funds, which can be used for field trips or grants for teachers to buy materials for their classrooms.
Knowlton isn't the only school that partners with businesses to raise funds. Bluff Ridge Elementary School, in Syracuse, also partners with Smith's and participates in the Box Top program, sponsored by General Mills Corporation.
That national program has donated more than $400 million to schools since it was started in 1996, according to the Box Tops for Education website.
Mjika Conine, Box Tops coordinator at Bluff Ridge Elementary, said Bluff Ridge received $3,400 for the 2010-11 school year.
Students bring in Box Tops cut from different products. Conine gathers the tops and mails them back to the corporation.
A check is sent to the school's PTA and the PTA then donates it back to the school. As at Knowlton, the school's community council decides how the money is used, Conine said.
Box Tops also offers ways for parents to shop online.
To learn more about Smith's program, go to www.smithsfoodanddrug.com.
For more information about the Box Tops program, go to www.boxtops4education.com.