The Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia Kentucky held a book give away at the Middlesboro Intermediate School on Friday. Many people gathered at the event to walk away with free books.
The reading foundation received a tractor trailer load of books for the event. The books were valued at $2.3 million, according to Tony Maxwell, the director of the reading foundation for this area. There were books available for all ages.
Greene Construction, along with several volunteers, helped unload books from the truck and assisted with organizing the books. Many different groups came to the event including churches and other schools. One volunteer came to help from South College in Knoxville, Tenn.
“It has been a community effort,” said Maxwell. “It is really amazing at the support we get.”
The purpose of the giveaway was to give children and adults easy access to books within their home. The national goal for reading foundation franchise is to get parents to read to their children at least 20 minutes a day.
“As a retired teacher and reading recovery teacher, what I have found is … a person cannot be read to if there are no books on the shelves at home,” said Debbie Knuckles.
According to Knuckles, the foundation attempts to find money outside of the foundation or people to donate books so they can give books away for free. The foundation is looking to give books away at mass community events. The foundation is also looking for businesses such as dentist and doctor offices to make books available to read.
“We need to focus on getting good books into good hands,” said Knuckles.
“Education begins early and involves the families,” said Maxwell.
This is the second year the reading foundation has been in Bell County. Maxwell just finished his first year as the director. According to Maxwell, the program has grown tremendously.
“I can remember when we first started. We would be thrilled if we got a pickup load of books. Today there was a tractor trailer load,” said Middlesboro Intermediate Principal Steve Martin.
The foundation will be at two upcoming events. On July 20, they will be at a school event on the Old Bell High Football Field. They will also be giving books away at the Ducky Dash event on Aug. 11.
The foundation does accept donations and are looking for volunteers. If anyone is interested they can contact Maxwell at Tony.Maxwell@lmunet.edu. The reading foundation is also on Facebook at “The Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia - Kentucky.”
The foundation is also looking for events where books can given away. The grant used to fund the reading foundation covers four counties: Bell, Laurel, Clay and Leslie.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.