As part of a long-standing tradition, Schley Grange is giving dictionaries to every third-grader in Orange County Schools. That’s 540 dictionaries this year,  bringing the total to over 7,500 dictionaries donated since the program began.

OCS Superintendent Patrick Rhodes and Public Information Officer Michael Gilbert are presiding over giving ceremonies at each school, and if you ask the teachers, they’ll tell you that the kids use the dictionaries for many years to follow.
Who’s Schley Grange?  It is the local chapter of a state and national group that’s been supporting farming communities since 1867.  With 200 active members,  Schley Grange is the largest Grange in North Carolina.  The Grange Hall is about 7 miles north of Hillsborough on NC 57.   Yes, that’s still Orange County. 

Schley Grange Hall (Image Credit: Orange County Board of Elections)

Once a place to trade tractors and combines, the Grange is now largely a social club with an arm that lobbies for fair farming and rural legislation, including food safety laws that protect smaller, local farms.
The Grange meets the second Tuesday of every month for official business, and hosts events like the  “Pickin & Grinnin” jam on Thursday nights and an occasional fundraising supper or breakfast. 

The Grange boasts a unique community building, which they won from Sears Roebuck in the 1940s. It’s primary architectural feature is the large meeting room which has no posts to obstruct views. It has a large commercial kitchen and, when not in use by their members, the Grange rents the space for a small fee to cover utilities and cleaning.

Adjacent to the building is a baseball field that the Grange donates to Hillsborough Youth Athletic Association for their regular season. The Grange also sponsors a team and supports HYAA’s scholarship program that assures any child can play baseball.
As the season of giving begins, I’m reminded of the generosity of my friends at the Grange who show how community makes all the difference .  If you’d like to learn more about the Grange or become  a member, click here.