Food City officials passed out more than $93,000 in School Bucks Program checks to Chattanooga area schools Monday. From left are Gladden Middle School Principal Phillip Greeson, school Executive Assistant Darlene Lance, Food City Dalton, Ga., Store Manager Jackie Dills; and Chattanooga District Manager Rodney Dillard.

Gladden Middle School officials said Monday that all of the money it received from Food City will go toward boosting what they called "the school climate."

Darlene Lance, the Murray County, Ga., school's executive assistant, said plans are to use the funds for teacher appreciation, noting they don't typically have monies earmarked for that purpose.

Gladden was one of 66 schools in the Chattanooga area given checks for a total of $93,293 from grocer Food City's School Bucks Program.

The figure is part of $700,000 the Abingdon, Va., company pledged in contributions for the school year within its four-state service area. Since the 1990-91 school year, the company has awarded $17.9 million to more than 1,000 schools, according to Food City.

For every $10 in Food City exclusive brand purchases, schools received one School Bucks reward point.

Rick Bishop, executive vice president of Food City store operations for the Chattanooga division, said the company aims to be "a good corporate citizen."

"We understand every little bit helps," he said. "It strikes a string to the heart."

Rodney Dillard, Food City's district manager, said the initiative generates extra money for the schools.

"We like to give back to the communities we serve," he said. "We want to help the communities we live in to prosper."

Gladden Principal Phillip Greeson said the Food City funds will help create positive work areas for teachers, who get the students involved.

"It's very helpful," he said.

According to Food City, it has introduced a new School Bucks Challenge Program that makes points collection easier. For every $1 spent using a Food City ValuCard, 1 point is received, the company said.

To link ValuCards to a participating school, patrons can go online to schoolbucks.

Food City acquired 29 former Bi-Lo stores in the Chattanooga area in mid-2015, and it has pledged to spend about $50 million upgrading those units.

The company also wants to fill in between the Chattanooga and Knoxville markets, where the supermarket chain was already established.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.