United Way to hold Summer Reading Backpack Program

The United Way of the Indian Wells Valley is holding its second annual Summer Reading Backpack Program and requests donations of new and/or gently used books suitable for readers in Kkindergarten through second grade.

Also needed are donations of backpacks and tote bags.

All collected books will be packed into the backpacks and distributed to local schoolchildren in need, who will go into grades kindergarten through second grade at summer’s end.

This program’s goal is to encourage reading skills in children who might not otherwise have books available. Monetary donations are also gratefully accepted.

United Way has already received a $5,000 grant from Edison International and is doing fundraisers to raise enough money to buy a new book from the California State Department of Education’s Recommended Reading List for each second-grade student in the Sierra Sands Unified and Trona Joint Unified school districts.

“Every year, we’re going to focus on different age groups, because there are thousands of children in the SSUSD and TJUSD and we can’t give to them all every year,” said Kari Boisvert, executive director of the local United Way. “If people want to collect books and backpacks at their businesses and then drop them off, that’s fine.”

Volunteers are needed to help sort and pack the collected books on Memorial Day, May 27, 5:30-8 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church, first floor. Last year’s team of volunteers made quick work of packing nearly 3,000 donated books.

Boisvert said she was so pleased with how last year’s program was received by the students, and how the entire community came out to participate, that she definitely wants to continue this program every year.

Donations of books, backpacks and totes can be dropped off at both Albertson’s stores and at TuxEgo on Balsam Street until May 24. Call 760-375-1920 for more information or for pickup.

United Way’s office is located at 206 Balsam St.

Story First Published: 2013-05-22