Book Drive Delivers Gift of Reading

The first-ever United Way Children’s Book Drive brought in more than 9,000 new and gently used books for young kids—and more are coming in.

“Children who read well tend to succeed in school. That’s the genesis of the book drive—our desire to get books in the hands of kids who need them,” said Jennifer Nottingham, Associate Director of Community Impact for United Way BCKR.

From Sept. 12-21, United Way and businesses, schools and nonprofits across the region collected new and gently used books geared for children in kindergarten through third grade. Helping kids in that age range read at or above grade level is one of United Way’s impact strategies for improving graduation rates.

Among the organizations that collected books were Abraxas; Big Brothers Big Sisters A Community of Caring; Bravo! Restaurant & Café; CMS Group; Denso Air Systems; Fabri-Kal Corp.; Horizon Bank; Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency; Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity; Kellogg Community Credit Union; Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos, P.C.; Marshall Community Credit Union; Miller Canfield; Nulty Insurance; Parker-Hannifin Corp.-HSD; PRAB Inc., Stryker, Western Michigan University (which kicked off its book drive this week); WSI; YMCA (Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Sherman Lake); and Zoetis.

Donated books are still arriving. While the current count of 9,000 is short of the original goal, it’s enough to make sure all 29 classrooms across the region that requested books will receive what they need. Community volunteers, including many from Stryker and United Way Campaign Cabinets in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, helped deliver books to local schools.

A special thanks to our sponsors: Kellogg Community Credit Union, Molina Healthcare, Marshall Community Credit Union, and YMCA of Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Sherman Lake, as well as our in-kind supporters Green Bay Packaging Inc., Two Men and a Truck; and Denso and North Park Reformed Church, which served as repackaging sites.