LAURINBURG — Family Dollar Store on South Main celebrated its grand reopening with a focus on giving away money instead of just making it.
On Friday, members of the Scotland County Lumbee Tribe Boys and Girls Club received a $1,000 check to continue its efforts to enrich the lives of Laurinburg’s American Indian children.
District Manager Tim Margita presented the check and bags of sidewalk chalk to eight of the club’s young members and allowed them to help with the ribbon cutting.
Family Dollar stores and Boys and Girls Clubs of America have a national partnership, according to Rose-Marie Lowery-Townsend, director of the club.
“Earlier this year Family Dollars across the country collected money. You could go in and make a contribution to Boys and Girls Club,” Lowery-Townsend said.
To show their gratitude, the director and the children presented Margita and the store employees with prayer ties as a blessing to the store and its workers.
The ties held items that are significant to the tribe: A piece of river cane used by Indians to make blow guns and arrows, flat cedar the wood of which is used to make boxes to keep sacred items, a bundle of pine needles because pine needles have often been used in traditional healing, a bundle of tobacco used for both sacred and recreational purposes, and topped with a tiny pine cone because the Lumbee Tribe are the People of the Pines. The bundles were tied with the tribal colors: red, white, black and yellow which represent the four races of mankind and the four directions of the Earth.
As part of the ceremony Reggie Brewer, cultural coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, burned sage and sang a traditional drum song for blessings and prosperity for the store and its staff.
The Scotland branch of the club accepts all children, but Native Americans given priority because this particular club is connected to the Lumbee Tribe. The tribe has seven Boys and Girls Clubs in four counties in the tribal service area.
The local chapter has been open for two years and serves 20 school-age children.
“We start with them at six years old; we like for them to be finished with kindergarten and go up ‘til they graduate from high school,” Lowery-Townsend said.
The club offers children afterschool activities that are designed to enrich their lives and expose them to undertakings that some of them might not otherwise get to participate in.
“We do activities centered around our five core areas, one of them being education and another character development. The character development ties in with community activities [like this],” she said. “We assist with homework. We’re constantly trying to do something that’s going to improve our kids academically.”
The group also exposes club members to visual and performing arts and uses that component to tie in the culture of the tribe. Leaders at the club teach the kids traditional native activities like basket weaving, music, beading and stickball.
They also try teach kids the benefits of a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise, recreation and gym programs.
“Healthy lifestyles is our healthy eating piece, and we do quite a bit with Campbell’s Soup. Campbell’s Soup is a partner with us,” Lowery-Townsend said. “We have a two acre garden that we will be working this summer. We help plant some of it. The kids get to go and gather the crops, and we cook and we do canning.”
The students meet at 16220 Lumbee Heritage Lane, but directors are looking to find a new facility because current facility at is beginning to reach capacity.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169