ROSELLE, NJ - No one saw it coming! On Friday morning company officials from Dollar General descended on the Washington Elementary School with something BIG!! No one knew what was was about to happen, not the students, not the teachers, not even the principal!

Jeff Owen, Dollar General’s Executive Vice President, Store Operations, along with Denine Torr, Dollar General’s Senior Director, Community Initiatives, presented Washington Elementary School Principal, Marianne Tankard, with the ultimate gift of a check in the amount of $50,000 as part of the company’s “Reading Revolution” program. 

Principal Tankard, staff, teachers, and students, along with Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Richard Corbett and Mayor Christine Dansereau, were all present as Principal Tankard opened the box given to her by Dollar General officials to see the huge surprise. 

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However, Dollar General officials were not done just yet. In partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation, the company also provided backpacks filled with school supplies for every student in the school! 

It just took one act of kindness shown by Roselle Dollar Store Manager, Lamount Curry, who help someone at the school, that made a staff member want to write a letter to the Dollar General corporate office commending the manager. From there it spiraled into the an even bigger act of kindness that many of the teachers say they have never experienced. 

Video of the event and that moment when Principal Tankard opens the box can be seen below:

“Dollar General is very passionate about its mission of Serving Others, and we are all excited to surprise Washington Elementary School with a financial donation and backpacks for the students to support its reading and literacy programs,” said Jeff Owen, Dollar General’s executive vice president of store operations.  “We hope this donation will help equip the school with the tools and resources it needs to strengthen the learning experience for students.”

The donation from Dollar General is part of its Reading Revolution program. The program aims to provide schools with additional resources to purchase books, computers and other educational supplies to enhance their reading and literacy programs. Since its inception in 2013, the program has provided more than $2.3 million to more than 50 schools. 

“Through our charitable outreach, we strive to make a real and lasting impact on children and families, said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s senior director of community initiatives. “We believe the one gift that lasts a lifetime and provides individuals with the opportunity for a better future is the ability to read well. We hope this gift will help inspire a love of reading which will make such a difference for these students as they progress with their education.”

“We are so surprised and excited to receive this generous gift from our friends at Dollar General,” said Marianne Tankard, principal, Washington Elementary School. “It is so important that our students embrace reading at an early age and this gift will provide us with more resources to enhance our reading programs. Our students are also excited about the new backpacks. This has been a fun day for everyone and we are very grateful.”