RARITAN TWP., NJ - The Delaware Valley High School theater program got a boost recently from Kohl’s in the form of a $1,500 donation and a visit from a five-person task force.

The visitors, joined by about 20 students and several teachers, plunged into the prop room and spent three hours there straightening it up and cleaning it out. The gift of cash and volunteer labor is the most recent manifestation of the Kohl’s Cares, the department store’s community-partnership initiative.

Kohl’s, which has a department store in Raritan Township, supports with cash grants the volunteer efforts of its employees. The recipient has to be a registered nonprofit – in this case the Del Val Performing Arts Boosters. It’s Kohl’s way of putting its money where its employees’ hearts are.

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Susan Eisenbeil, manager of the Flemington Kohl’s, was part of the cleanup crew. She is the mother of Emma, a veteran Del Val actor. Emma will star as Alice in Del Val’s upcoming production of “We’re All Mad Here.”

The prop room has been crammed with props from previous shows and donations of stuff that donors thought might conceivably be used in future shows, explains Tata Civitillo, one of Del Val’s drama directors.

Besides filling two huge trash bags with unwanted clothing to be donated to Project Graduation, the crew filled four trash bins with unwanted junk.

And when you pick up a few things, you make discoveries. These included a nurse’s uniform that had been purchased for a recent production of  “Arsenic and Old Lace.” It will be worn by Natalie Martin while she minds Alice in the upcoming show.

“We’re All Mad Here” is a stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice novels done by directors Civitello and Chris James. It will be presented Nov. 17-19.

Kohl’s Cares helps many local organizations in many ways all over the county. “Being able to do this is truly the best part of my job!” says Eisenbeil.

But Del Val is a favorite beneficiary. In 2015, notes Eisenbeil, “We had a great year volunteering,” with Kohl’s donating $8,500 to the Del Val Performing Arts Boosters. “Myself and my team were at every home football game helping with concessions; we assisted with the musical and plays; and we volunteered at the district band night.”

During 2016 so far, Kohl’s has supplemented volunteer efforts with donations totaling $14,000 to the booster club that helps the school’s theater and music programs. That help related to the annual musical, a band festival, selling concession items, drumline events, a movie night, and more.

The Del Val All Sports Booster Club is getting $1,500 along with volunteer help at the Cheer Meet & Greet.

   It’s no accident that Kohl’s largess has also been steered toward Kingwood Township School. “KTS and Del Val have been such a positive force in my girls’ lives,” says Eisenbeil. “I feel very fortunate to give back to the schools that have helped nurture my daughters.” 

Other organizations that the Flemington Kohls, has supported in 2016 are the Delaware Valley Athletic Association, Hunterdon Prevention Resources, American Diabetes Association, Clean Ocean Action, Ronald McDonald House, High Bridge Youth Basketball and Solebury School.