Dollar General announced a gift of over $50,000 to Halifax County Public Schools on Friday September 7th for the purchase of books for schoolchildren. Hank Bruining, Human Resources Manager for the local Dollar General Distribution Center, presented School Superintendent Paul Stapleton with a mock check for $50,000 demonstrating the company’s gift to the seven elementary schools in the county.

Bruining said the literary effort is his company’s charity of choice noting that the company’s founder, Mr. J. L. Turner never had the opportunity to go further than the third grade.

“It’s a rare commitment to have a company reinvest in our children like this, helping to motivate them and to make their dream come true” stated Stapleton. He further indicated the importance of each child having his/her own books and the impact can be seen by improved reading scores at schools where Dollar General had earlier given books.

Dollar General began the program three years ago, giving three books to each student in each of the six schools it had chosen to support for three years. This year however the program is expanded to cover all the county elementary schools and each student will receive three free books each for three years. The children get to choose their books from a large assortment.

Audrey Davidson, Executive Director of the Halifax County Public Schools Education Foundation pointed out what a difference the earlier book donation had made in the reading skills of those children who received the books. She stated that “We tested the children in the third grade and then those same children in grade five and found a 15 percent improvement on these tests. They scored 68 percent in the third grade and 83 percent on reading tests in the fifth grade.”

Dollar General’s donation is part of a three year national partnership with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) to provide books to children in nine states where the company has distribution centers and corporate offices. The company believes that placing books in thehomes of children will help encourage them at a young age to love reading. The RIF program is the nation’s oldest and largest children’s literacy organization. It is a motivational program to get children excited about reading and creating a lifelong love of reading. Elementary schools in Halifax County have been participating in the program for many years, awarding prizes to top readers in each school and celebrating special events to highlighting its importance.