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The gift of giving

By Staff
Local dollar stores give back to the community
Melissa Cason
When you check out at any Dollar General store, the cashier asks you if you want to donate money to the chain's literacy program. Most people never give much thought as to what happens to the money, or how it's used to help adults and children gain literacy skills.
Roger McLean, district manager for Dollar General, said the money is usually awarded through grants to institutions that apply. That is, until now.
"Our region raised over $1 million and our CEO has vowed to get that money back into the area where it was raised to help with adult and childhood literacy," McLean said.
McLean said the announcement was made last year but it has taken several months for the company to compile a list of libraries and schools where the money will be given.
Phil Campbell High School, Phil Campbell Elementary, Belgreen School Library, Northwest-Shoals Community College in Phil Campbell and Muscle Shoals, Weatherford Library in Red Bay and all Russellville City Schools will receive money to fund their iteracy programs.
"The money will be used for our adult education program at both sites," said Donnie Sweeney, director of adult education program at Northwest-Shoals. "We also have an adult GED class we teach in Russellville."
Jackie Ergle, principal at Phil Campbell Elementary, said the money will be used where it is most needed, either in the new reading program or to purchase new software for reading.
Kandy Barnett, Phil Campbell Dollar General manager, said it's good to see that their collections will directly assist the local community.
"We call it begging," Barnett said. "When we ask for the change to go toward our literacy program, we call it begging. It's good to see the rewards of all our begging. We'll keep on begging to bring money for our students."
McLean presented his checks to both Phil Campbell schools and to the college last week.
The other check presentations will be through the district store managers.
McLean said the reason Dollar General works so hard to fund literacy programs is because its founder only had a third-grade education, and the program is the company's way of giving back to the community that has been so good to the company.
"It's our way of giving back," McLean said. "We'll take a break to do a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and then we'll go back to the literacy program."