When Joshua Circle Elementary School teacher Matt Sheffield started the new school year, he was told that the odds of the third grade having a field trip at the end of the year were approximately 50/50.

"It would be difficult without taking money from our own pockets or asking the kids for money," he said, "Which is something we didn't want to do."

So Sheffield picked up the phone and called Wal-Mart.

Renee Jimenez works at the company's logistics and transportation center in Apple Valley. One of her children had been in Sheffield's class in a previous year.

"They were looking at fund-raisers," Jimenez said. She told the teachers that Wal-Mart locations each get $25,000 a year for community grants. "I gave all the sixth grade teachers an application and last year, we gave them $1,000."

"This year, [Sheffield] picked up the phone and said 'new year!'"

And once again, Wal-Mart has come through for students at Joshua Circle with another $1,000.

The grant will be used for "either Long Beach Aquarium or the Discovery Science Center in Irvine" in May, Sheffield said.

"Because money is so tight in education, we have to find other avenues," Sheffield said, "And this is a very nice one that Wal-Mart provides."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.