More than 900 Delaware teachers and parents braved icy roads and rain in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware last weekend for the chance to bring home free, quality, books, thanks to the First Book First State Initiative.
The State of Delaware partnered with nonprofit social enterprise First Book to organize two events, one at Brandywine High School, the other at North Georgetown Elementary School. More than 200 volunteers helped sort the more than 40,000 books at the two events.
“We are very excited about these events,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We want Delaware to be the first state in the nation to ensure that every child in need has access to the books and resources required to be successful in school and in life, and we are delighted to be working with First Book to achieve that goal.”
First Book, which has operations in both the U.S. and Canada, works with formal and informal educators serving children in need, from ages newborn to eighteen years old, in a wide range of settings, from schools, classrooms, summer school and park and recreational programs, to health clinics, homeless shelters, faith-based programs, libraries, museums, summer food sites and more. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 150 million books and developed a network of more than 275,000 teachers serving low-income communities.
“First Book is committed to finding innovative ways to address unmet needs and work toward educational equality,” said President and CEO Kyle Zimmer. “Delaware’s state officials have been enthusiastic partners from the start; it is really exciting for us to work with a group of dedicated professionals who share our goals.”
Lots of Free Books, Upstate and Down
Delaware educators were invited to take home 50 books each, kids took home 10 books apiece, and the books went fast!
“I was able to get there (during that horrible weather) and they let me get [books] for my one kid with me and my sick one at home,” one parent posted on Facebook after the event. “Thank you for having this event! I hope it’s something you can do again. My youngest loved being able to pick out those books for her sister and herself.”
The event was made possible by the generous contributions of many local sponsors, including M&T Bank; Delle Donne & Associates; Christiana Care Health System; Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children; ShopRite; Kenny Family Foundation; Delaware Park; AFT Federation Union Local 762; AFT; Brandywine Education Association; and United Way of Delaware.
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