Elks Donate Dictionaries for Third-Grade Students

Among it’s definitions for “charity,” Webster’s Dictionary includes “a gift for public benevolent purposes.” For the second year, third-grade students in the South-Western City School District will be able to look up that word and thousands of others in their own dictionary, donated by the Columbus/Grove City Elks Lodge No. 37. In all, the Elks Club donated 1,600 dictionaries — one for every third grader in the district. The dictionaries and additional donations totaling more than $1,800 were presented to area organizations Monday, Dec. 2 at the Elks’ annual charity check presentation. The event was held at the club lodge on Sonora Drive in Grove City. “The lodge has been doing this for years,” said Elks Treasurer Steve Rinehart. “Any 501(c)3 organization can apply (for donations) and we have a committee that reviews requests as they come in.” This year, the lodge made donations to six community support organizations, seven local Boy Scout troops and six recreation and travel sports teams. Along with the dictionaries, the Elks presented donations to the South-Western Council of PTAs and to the Navy Jr. ROTC, and band booster and athletic booster programs at both Central Crossing and Grove City high schools. “We primarily support programs in the Grove City area,” Rinehart said. The donations are made with funds raised throughout the year at the lodge through Ohio “tear-off” Bingo sales, he said. Ohio Bingo regulations require that 25 percent of profits be donated to 501(c)3 organizations, Rinehart said. “It’s a fun and easy way for our members to support and give something back to the community,” he said. The dictionary donation is part of the National Elks Youth Program initiative to support the Dictionary Project, a nationwide effort that has resulted in more than 18 million children receiving dictionaries since 1995. With Ohio’s new third-grade reading guarantee, the dictionary project is a particularly worthwhile endeavor, Rinehart said. “Hopefully our lodge can help to ensure every third-grader is ‘on track’ for the fourth grade,” he said. “These dictionaries are for each student to own and keep with them throughout their academic career.” The lodge is able to provide the dictionaries with the assistance of the Council of PTAs and each elementary school’s PTA, Rinehart said. Each PTA will place a book label inside the front cover and insert a Elks drug awareness bookmark along with a letter to parents.