CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-  The next time you fill up your car, you may have the chance to help your favorite high school at the same time.  Several Chattanooga area Raceway stores have set up "Spirit Pumps" to help their neighborhood schools.  For instance, one pump at the Raceway store on Hixson Pike is all decked out in the colors of the nearby Hixson High Wildcats.

The school receives one cent per gallon from this pump, and over time, it can really add up.  During the pump's first month of operation, more than $620 was raised, and a check was presented Tuesday to Hixson High for the school's athletic programs. 

Store operators Peter Avista and Oscar Brock joined RaceTrac Petroleum District Manager James Smith in presenting a the check to Hixson Athletic Director Brian Bray and Principal Christine Couch.

Ms. Couch called it "a great partnership with Raceway."  She said the store also encouraged her school to hold car washes and other fund-raisers, "and when we're there, we steer people to our special spirit pump.  Several people have gotten into the habit of filling up at that particular pump, because they know it will benefit Hixson High."

Smith said the program was created "as a way for our stores to become more involved in our local communities."  He said, "We have a large parking lot, and a lot of gas pumps, and we want to show the parents, students and teachers that we care about their schools.  We're happy to be a part of their fund-rasing, because their needs are so great."

Avista and Brock commented on the colorful design of the Spirit Pumps, saying the school colors "really stand out, and catch the attention of folks who want to show their school spirit."

Several Chattanooga area Raceway stores are participating in the Spirit Pump program, benefitting other high schools including Red Bank, Signal Mountain, Howard, Soddy-Daisy and Chattanooga Christian.  Smith said the program, if successful, could expand and benefit other area programs in the future.