MARQUETTE - Collection has begun for the 25th annual Marquette-Alger Reading Council's Gift of Reading project, which provides books to needy families and adults at Christmas and throughout the year.
"The books we collect at the schools and libraries, in Marquette and Alger County, the books are given out to agencies like St. Vincent De Paul, they put them in their Christmas baskets," said Mary Davis, member of and publicity coordinator for the council. "We also collect donations. A lot of people and businesses prefer to just write out a check. These checks, we use them to buy books. We try to get them into (local) agencies."
Collection areas have been set up at local schools, libraries and bookstores and will remain until Dec. 5. Financial contributions are welcome year-round. Checks can be sent to MARC at P.O. Box 1084 in Marquette.
From left, Cherry Creek Elementary School third-graders Sonny Taylor, Nicole Luees and Austin Ridl help take some donated books and put them in the drop box inside their school. The Marquette-Alger Reading Council is collecting books and donations until Dec. 5. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Davis said the collection seeks to garner both books for children and adults, as many of the books will be given to local agencies, such as the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Teaching Family Homes, the Norlite Nursing Center and the Superior Walk-in Clinic, just to name a few.
Davis said people of all ages always enjoy a good read.
"A lot of times, for elderly people, we have gotten feedback that they love having books read to them, so, I'm imagining somebody maybe with limited vision or physical reasons why they can't read, they get these books and they have somebody that reads to them and it's been a real pleasure to them," Davis said.
The program has managed to collect more than 30,000 books since its inception 25 years ago and has become an integral part of the local community, Davis said.
"(At the beginning) our goal was to promote literacy, to get books into the hands of young children," Davis said. "As the program expanded, we tried to get books into areas where people might not have access to books. For example, the hospitals and the nursing homes, the dental clinics, that type of thing. Maybe a family is waiting to go in for a doctor's appointment. They can pick up a book, read to the child. We really feel that the gift of reading is the best gift a parent or family member can give to a young child."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal. net.