IDAHO FALLS – Nearly 8,000 children’s books were recently distributed to children in various school districts in eastern Idaho, through a book donation program by a non-profit organization.
United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County launched the program last year in the spring with a grant. The program is called “Loan.” Together. READ! ”And came in response to the learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program encourages literacy and promotes early childhood education in eastern Idaho.
Chris Wiersema, president and CEO of United Way in eastern Idaho, told EastIdahoNews.com that 7,850 books have been distributed to children in different counties by donating them to schools.
“Books can take you on a journey. It creates curiosity in the kids and we really wanted to offer all kinds of genres, ”Wiersema said. “These are not only school books, they are fun books, but also non-fiction and science fiction books. Whatever the child’s best interests, we wanted to make sure we had a book for them. “
Access to books for low-income children is part of the program. According to the United Way website, “In Idaho, low-income households have an average of only one book for every 300 children. By comparison, in middle and upper income households, each child has an average of 50 pounds.
“These children who live in poverty usually have maybe a book, as a personal book and we would like this library to develop 10 to 15 books for them to enjoy,” she said.
Wiersema said the program remains in place for the second time this year.
“Our goal is to distribute an additional 15,000 books this year,” she said.
United Way in Idaho Falls serves Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton counties. Click here for more information.