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Dollar General Literacy Foundation
David GaygenApr 24, 2024 10:23:53 AM5 min read

Dollar General Literacy Grant Stocks Book Vending Machine

Angela Grace, Northeast Elementary School Librarian, saw Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine on social media five years ago. Right away, she knew she had to have it.

2024 Grant Applications are available nowclick here to apply.

It took time to fundraise. But last year the school saved up enough money to purchase the book vending machine.

The program was so successful, she needed to find a way to keep the machine stocked with books. Grant opportunities are available to support programs like this. Thankfully Ms. Grace found the Dollar General Literacy Grant.

Northeast Elementary School receives Dollar General Literacy Foundation  grant

Making Reading Rewarding at Northeast Elementary School

Ms. Grace said in a video produced by the Lauderdale School District;

“It’s all about putting books in kids’ hands. Some students don’t have books at home. This way, they have it. It’s theirs. They can take it home and read it whenever they want.”

Assistant Principal, Mr. Zachari Ruff added that the book vending machine is "A great incentive to keep students reading.”



How Does Book Vending Work?

The incentive that Assistant Principal Ruff mentioned is a free book. The staff at Northeast Elementary view reading as a form of reward rather than a mere task.

Here's how it works: When a student advances two levels in Lexia (a reading enrichment program already in place) they are rewarded with a gold Inchy token. They can then use this token to purchase a book of their choice from the vending machine.

The Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine is a positive rewards system that complements the existing programs at the school. By aligning with PBIS, SEL, DEI, or MTSS programs that schools already have in place, the book vending machine enhances what's already being accomplished. Teachers like Mr. Ruff believe in the power

How Do They Keep It Going?

It’s safe to say the incentive has worked. Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine holds between 200-300 books at a time. In a more recent interview with WTOK News, Ms. Grace said Northeast Elementary’s book vending machine distributed close to 1,300 books throughout it’s first year in service.

Ms. Grace faced a new challenge. How would she keep the machine stocked with books?

“So, our librarian , Angela Grace, applied for the Dollar General Literacy Grant, which was a $3,500 grant, and she did that to maintain our book vending machine.” Anita Wansley, the Principal at Northeast Elementary told WTOK in the same interview.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Established 30 years ago Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants to schools, libraries, or non-profit organizations within fifteen miles of a Dollar General store.


Founded in 1993 by Cal Turner and Cal Turner Jr., the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was created to pay tribute to JL. Turner, the co-founder of Dollar General. As the story goes, he came from a farming background and only completed third grade. It’s in his name that the foundation proudly provides assistance to students throughout their educational endeavors.

Foundation Goals

Dollar General Literacy foundation is dedicated to supporting literacy and education programs. They work with local and national partners to help teachers and students succeed.

Dollar General talked to students, parents, and teachers to learn about literacy challenges in the US. They used this information to make plans to help students get the resources they need. To learn more, check out their State of American Literacy Report.

The Foundation grants money to groups near Dollar General stores. This includes schools and libraries. To see if your school qualifies, check out full guidelines at

How Dollar General Helped Northeast Elementary

The foundation provides grants for various projects. Projects funded include: rebuilding school libraries, adult literacy programs, family literacy programs, and summer reading programs. Angela Grace applied for the Youth Literacy Grant.

Schools, libraries, and nonprofit groups can apply for grant funding. The money will help grow reading programs, get technology for projects, and buy books.

2024 Grant Applications are available nowclick here to apply.


Librarian Angela Grace told WTOK News that books are flying off the shelves at Northeast Elementary.

“A vending machine is something we’ve all used. We use it to get our snacks, chips, and drinks. So to get a book out of it...The first few kids were excited. Then other kids would walk by as we were doing it. So, they got excited about it. Kids love to push the buttons on it and watch the book fall, and then the machine tells them. Keep up the good work. It kind of gives them encouragement to keep going,” said Grace.

Principal Wansley expressed her sincere gratitude for staff members putting in additional time and effort to support students foundational skills and learning.

“Last year we were hoping to put one book in each child’s hand. That’s roughly 750 books. We were able to give out 1,300 book last year.”

Ms. Grace proudly stated in a video produced by the Lauderdale County School District.

“Thank you, Dollar General, for doing this.”

It is clear from the smiling face in the video that students are enjoying the machine. In one clip, there are four kids crowded around the machine and a caption declares “Choosing a book is half the fun”.

Bring Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine To Your School

Getting money for school programs, such as a book vending machine, requires careful planning. Writing a proposal can be a time-consuming process. Pay close attention to details.

Proofreading, budget proposal creation, and signature collection are important steps. Collecting signatures can sometimes slow things down. Give the proposal to the dean/principal and school's accountant/finance department because they handle sponsorships.

For assistance, helpful tips, and useful tricks, please feel free to reach out to us via Stay informed by regularly checking our news and blog page.

When you choose to use your approved grant funds on one of our book vending machines, we will be happy to showcase your school in a post.

Don't forget, our design team can personalize your machine with a custom art design of your choice!

If you require assistance in raising funds, there's no need to worry! We helped many schools reach their goals successfully.


David Gaygen

There is something exciting about a book vending machine. Everyone who hears about it, instantly wants to be a part of it—and that is David's favorite part of the job. In addition to being the community manager and content creator at, he also enjoys being part of the Reading Revolution Podcast. Read. Reward. Inspire. That's what it's all about. Join David and this ever-growing community of educators and literacy champions at