Former Marines, Marine Reservists and their spouses distributed over 1,000 books recently to Moore County child care facilities of all sizes. The books were a gift to the children of Moore County from the Toys for Tots Foundation in partnership with Books Depot and Chris Engelfried, a local author of children’s books.
The book distribution was organized by Partners for Children and Families, the local Smart Start agency, and Growing Moore Readers which is Moore County’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Bonnie Archibald, the Early Childhood Literacy Coordinator for PfCF, stated that “The books provided were new, age appropriate, and of a very high quality. They will be used by childcare facilities to educate their young students. At this point in the pandemic, many of those kids are children of workers in essential businesses.”
The idea for this book distribution was first floated by Jerry Townley, the Local Coordinator of Toys for Tots of Moore County. According to Mr. Townley, “It is particularly important that children keep reading, or be read to, during the long break from formal education that has been necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As former Marines, we are happy to promote reading and brain development for these young children.”
According to the Moore County Literacy Council, many children lose more than 2 months of reading achievement during a typical summer. According to Stuart Mills, Executive Director of the Literacy Council, “In addition to the usual summer slide in reading, early studies are predicting that the COVID situation will inflict an additional loss of 30% of reading achievement during this unusual year. We were thrilled to learn of this very generous gift from Toys for Tots.”
During the last 12 months, Toys for Tots of Moore County had distributed approximately 12,000 new toys, including 600 books, to about 4,000 children in Moore County. The toys are typically distributed at Christmas time, but an exception was made this year for this summer-time book distribution in light of the special educational challenges being faced by children.
Feature photo: Chuck Walters, Carolyn Hallett, Judy Townley, and Jerry Townley from Toys for Tots. Courtesy photo.