CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Thousands of students from low-income families in three counties will be getting school uniforms this year courtesy of Belk, Inc.

The Charlotte Observer reports that officials at the Charlotte-based chain announced that they donated more than 3,300 new school uniforms to students in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties who are served by United Way agencies. The recipients are students in schools where uniforms are required.

It's the third year for the program, and Belk has donated more than 8,500 of the two-piece uniforms, with a retail value of about $200,000. The program started with donations to five Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools two years ago.

Belk is also encouraging area residents to send new or gently used uniforms to Crisis Assistance Ministry or to the Kannapolis City or Union County school systems.

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