LEWISTON — The former Geiger production plant is empty, except for a wall of leftover materials that will soon become school supplies: loads of paper, notebooks, thousands of pens, boxes of foam and crates of foil paper in purple, gold, silver and green.

“Art teachers go gaga over that,” Executive Vice President Peter Geiger said.

In January, Geiger announced it was closing its division that manufactured calendars, planners, diaries and books. The machines have been sold.

Production stopped in late May and 75 workers were laid off during March, April and May. Geiger, a promotional products company, still employs 225 workers.

Since May it has given leftover material to the SHAREcenter, an Auburn nonprofit organization that collects donated supplies, mostly from businesses, and gives them to schools and nonprofit organizations that are members of the center.

Geiger has long been one of the largest supporters. “Every year, we give tens of thousands of things,” Geiger said. Sometimes corporations change logos and want to get rid of things with their old logos, “things that are really useful.”

For example, last week Geiger gave away 500 insulated lunch bags. Giving donated goods is a way to help teachers and students with supplies.

“The SHAREcenter is the best way to do it because it goes all over,” Geiger said. The organization provides supplies to seven school districts. “That’s a lot of schools,” he said. “It’s just such a great program.”

The current Geiger giveaway is “a once-in-a-lifetime event to get things we normally wouldn’t be giving out,” he said.

After completing its last job in May, Geiger had so many supplies to donate that the SHAREcenter couldn’t take them all. The goods have been stockpiled. Geiger purchasing manager Anne D’Amour offered a list of goods that were donated, including 26,000 pounds of paper. There was so much, “we had several skids 5 feet tall,” she said.

Also given away: 1,530 cardboard tubes that can hold rolled-up student artwork, 26,700 yards of ribbon, 94,000 envelopes, 90,000 notebooks, 5,000 blank books perfect for journals, 171,000 photo album inserts and 2,130 pens.

While some of the donations have gone to Auburn teachers, most have gone to the SHAREcenter in East Auburn. “When they first saw how much we had, they were like kids in a candy store,” D’Amour said.

SHAREcenter board member Jean Weatherbee called Geiger a major supporter. “We are grateful to Geiger,” she said. “They make available to teachers and students materials they might otherwise not have, or would have to pay out of pocket.”

Edward Little High School art teacher Terri Wentzel has collected supplies from Geiger, including cabinets.

“We took students from the recycling club who came over with me to help move paper.” They got assorted card stocks and high-quality textured paper good for drawing,” Wentzel said. “It’s something we don’t have on hand.”

Wentzel also got five horizontal filing cabinets, perfect for holding poster papers. The new cabinets go for $1,500 each, D’Amour said. The teacher said she was thrilled with the windfall. Until now, when students created large art projects, the school couldn’t store them, Wentzel said. “Now we’re not limited by size.”

While a few Auburn teachers were allowed into Geiger, Peter Geiger said teachers looking for supplies will now have to go to the SHAREcenter. Soon, all of the material will be there, he said. “I am not set up for distribution.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: