During Dollar General’s recent Annual Leadership Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, the major discount retailer demonstrated its mission of Serving Others by partnering with nonprofit organization United Through Reading (UTR), which provides service members the opportunity to be video recorded reading a book to a child in their life to watch during times of separation, including deployment, trainings and overnight duty schedules.
Dollar General’s representatives packed 1,500 backpacks for military children and 150 book libraries for service members at UTR Story Stations around the world. The co-branded backpacks included three books, snacks from Kellogg’s and a water bottle.
During the event, Dollar General also presented an additional $150,000 donation to United Through Reading. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has served as the nonprofit’s Books for Ownership sponsor since 2018.
“Dollar General is proud to partner with United Through Reading, Kellogg’s and FedEx to support military families,” said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s senior director of community initiatives. “We believe no child should have to miss a bedtime story because their loved one is protecting ours. We hope this donation of books and backpacks will help United Through Reading extend its mission and provide more families the opportunity to make beautiful memories through story time.”
FedEx generously donated shipping costs for the backpacks and book libraries to be sent to military children across the country at schools on bases and through Armed Services YMCA programs. The boxes of books will go to United Through Reading recording sites around the world, including units currently on deployment.
“To watch the Dollar General team execute the filling of backpacks and packing of boxes was a thing of beauty. What a gift this will be to our military families,” said Dr. Sally Ann Zoll, CEO of United Through Reading.
Also on hand were the Chase family, an Army family from Virginia, to share why United Through Reading means so much to them. Lt. Col Jeff Chase has deployed eleven times over his career, leaving his wife (Lauren) at home with four kids (Caitlin, Campbell, McKenna, and Connor). While deployed, he sent United Through Reading recordings home or “Daddy Books” to the children to stay connected.
“Reading those stories and seeing him in the video confirmed to me that (my dad) was safe, and to a young child, this was a very big comfort,” said Campbell Chase to Dollar General’s leaders.