Oct. 16—The Olivehurst Dollar General store donated $5,000 this week to Yuba Gardens Intermediate school on behalf of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Deborah Lara, Dollar General store manager in Olivehurst, along with other store employees presented a $5,000 check to Jim Hays, principal at Yuba Gardens Intermediate, on Thursday.
Due to the store's high ranking in community donations for the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the store manager and the store employees chose Yuba Gardens Intermediate as one of the 2021 youth literacy grant recipients from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Through youth literacy grants, nearly 760 schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across 46 states received three million dollars in support of expanding literacy programs, purchasing technology and books, or software for literacy programs.
"We were number one in the company for donations last year from asking for roundup or just a regular donation. So out of over 17,000 stores, we were in the top ten," Lara said. "This community gave donations every day. When we ring people up, we ask them if they'd like to round up for the literacy program and it's just a great program that we all have that passion for and so we were able to get that spot up there."
Lara chose Yuba Gardens Intermediate as the recipient of the award because of her family's history with the school. Lara's sister, who is now a retired teacher, began her teaching career at Yuba Gardens Intermediate. Lara also had four brothers who attended the school as well as nephews and several friends.
"It was a pleasant surprise," Hays said. "It's not something that we were expecting in any way, but I think it's such a wonderful thing for our students. My English teachers have already been looking to find ways to get more books in the kids' hands and so this is just like an amazing windfall that we weren't expecting. We plan on using this money to purchase books for kids to enhance their reading."
Hays was notified on Monday by the store manager that she had chosen Yuba Gardens Intermediate for the award. Hays said he was very excited about using the funds to modernize the library and purchase books. Hays felt very grateful to see the donation come from community members within Olivehurst.
"Our staff last year put together different task forces, and one of them was community engagement," Hays said. "It's something that we've made a pretty big focus here this year. We want to get families involved in school. We think that we're doing some pretty amazing things here right now, and we have an amazing staff and wonderful students. I just really want to get the community involved as well."