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Books for Collier Kids Supports Students Amid COVID Challenges

Naples, FL 8/18/20 – Books for Collier Kids (BCK) continues efforts with Collier County Public Schools and local charities to ensure children of low-income families enjoy access to a steady stream of new books amid COVID-19 challenges and restrictions.

“After the schools closed in March, Books for Collier Kids worked closely with Dr. Kamela Patton and her staff to find ways to continue delivering new books for the children in pre-K, kindergarten, first- and second-grades, even when students were no longer in the classroom,” explains Board Chair Sallie Williams. “In fact, more than 35,000 books were distributed to kids at meal sites throughout the county and when the children came to pick up their personal items in May.”

Additionally, BCK moved forward with the annual summer initiative, delivering new, age-appropriate books to Boys & Girls Club, Guadalupe Center, Grace Place, Salvation Army, Youth Haven, Pathways, Friends of Foster Families, Fun Time Early Childhood Academy and Habitat for Humanity in an effort to help normalize children’s routines and provide free, engaging entertainment that helps to offset ‘summer slide’ (the backslide in reading skills that occurs during summer months in homes without reading materials for children).

Furthermore, as the charity learned COVID-related safety supplies delayed the use of space in the school system’s warehouse, Book Distribution Chair Mary Polizzotto discovered and ordered a collection of National Geographic Young Explorers magazines for various reading levels that could be easily shipped and distributed to the children at schools based on grade level.

“Most of our children in the Title I schools live below the poverty level in less than ideal conditions; no air conditioning, poor air and water quality, as well as a lack of access to nutritional food,” details Vice Chair Nora Kolmer. “By collaborating with CCPS and area charities, especially during such challenging times, we’ve not only been able to feed these young bodies, we’re able to nourish their minds.”

Books for Collier Kids provides new books to children in-need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy: access to books. Launched in 2005 as First Book-Collier County, BCK distributes more than 100,000 new, high-quality, age-appropriate and personalized books to 8,000 pre-K, kindergarten, first- and second-grade students in Collier County (1.2 million since inception).

The volunteer-run nonprofit partners with more than 20 local organizations, including the Collier County Public Schools, Friends of Foster Children Forever, Fun Time Early Childhood Academy, Habitat for Humanity of Collier County, Grace Place for Children and Families, Guadalupe Center, Pathways and Christ Child Society of Naples.

For more information please call Sallie Williams, Board Chair at 239.394.4062. To learn more about Books for Collier Kids, visit www.BooksforCollierKids.org.