More than 7,700 books collected during drive
United Way of the Wine Country held its Second Annual Children’s Book Drive in June in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. Nearly 7,700 books were collected for the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County during the United Way Book Drive.
Glen Weaver, executive director of the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County, was awed by the generosity of the community. “Once again we are wildly inspired by the spirit of sharing that has been demonstrated with the success of the book drive. It just goes to show how much we can accomplish simply by turning to the person next to us, asking for help, getting organized, and offering what we can. We are honored to facilitate the distribution of these wonderful books – there will be some very happy kids browsing the Free Bookmobile this year!”
The Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County has already started distributing the books as part of its mission to promote literacy and the love of reading, especially in rural and disadvantaged areas. Working with partners such as the Bookmobile, United Way is working to help children in Sonoma County succeed in school and stop the widening achievement gap.
Studies show that during the summer, low-income students who do not have access to books at home will lose the equivalent of two months of reading instruction compared to their middle and upper-income peers. With just one visit to the Bookmobile, many of these children will be able to maintain their reading skills and be better prepared for school in the fall.
The book drive started with a bang in Healdsburg as the entire school at St. John’s Elementary walked to the local Exchange Bank branch to deposit 760 books. Although there wasn’t a drop-off location this year in Geyserville, 1,602 books were collected in Healdsburg and 157 books in Cloverdale.
It didn’t stop there. The Stuart family brought nearly 250 books to the United Way office after cleaning out their book shelves. Amy’s Kitchen and JDSU employees gathered more than 600 books at their respective companies, and Pine Crest Elementary School in Sebastopol donated 1,700 books to keep children reading during the summer. In all, more than 7,700 children’s books were collected for the Bookmobile, ranging from books for toddlers to young adults in both English and Spanish.
“One of the best parts of the book drive this year was seeing children of all ages dropping off books as they learn what it means to give back,” said Stacy Ruppert, director of marketing and communications at United Way and coordinator of the book drive.
“With the amazing amount of books collected, hundreds of children in Sonoma County will be able to take at least three books home with them after visiting the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County this summer. While providing a book for a child may seem like a small act, the knowledge and inspiration a book provides can open a child’s life to endless possibilities.”
The book drive had the support of these sponsors, who provided drop-off locations for books: Exchange Bank, JDSU, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, MendoLake Credit Union, Redwood Credit Union (Point Arena), Redwood Health Club (Ukiah), Tone Fitness (Santa Rosa), Umpqua Bank (Kelseyville and Lakeport) and United Way (Santa Rosa and Ukiah).