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First Book-Westminster Raised Funds, Distributed Free Books

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - First Book-Westminster will distribute 900 new, free books to three literacy programs that serve children in need in Lawrence and Mercer counties.

Programs include Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC), Union Elementary and Farrell Elementary. Each child will receive two new books which enables the children to start their own home libraries they can share with their siblings and families. They will also receive a bookplate on which to place their names celebrating the importance of book ownership.

"The book grant we received from First Book-Westminster will enable our program to help many young people have, not only a book, but also a library of new books to call their very own," said Colleen Hannon, volunteer for RFKC. "The children's faces light up when they discover they can keep these books and take them home to read over and over again with their siblings and families."

RFKC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is the nation's leading network of camps for abused, neglected and abandoned children. By mobilizing local churches to sponsor a one week camp for abused and neglected children, ages 7-11 in their local community, the organization gets caring adults involved in the lives of children who need them most.

Additional programs in Lawrence and Mercer counties that have received book grants from First Book include: Head Start, Walker's Neighborhood House/Gussie M. Walker Foundation, West Middlesex Elementary School, and George Junior Republic.

First Book-Westminster is part of First Book's national network of volunteer-led advisory boards that provide new books to children in need in communities across the country. First Book has distributed more than 80 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities.

First Book-Westminster already provided free books to 250 children who attended the Celebrity Series for Kids showing of The Velveteen Rabbit. The Westminster Drinko Center for Experiential Learning and First Book-Westminster hosted a pre-show dinner, partially funded by the Caroline Knox Foundation, for 216 children and their families from the following organizations: Bair Foundation, Cray Family Services, Crisis Shelter, Lawrence County Community Action Program, Walker House, and a group from Farrell Elementary School. The event was also partially funded by Sodexo Dining Services.

First Book-Westminster has distributed more than $10,000 worth of books since its start in 2007. Its advisory board is comprised of Westminster students, faculty, staff, and members of the New Wilmington Rotary. Funding for the books was raised in collaboration with the New Wilmington Rotary Club, Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning, Celebrity Series, the Caroline Knox Foundation, and co-advisers Dr. Mandy Medvin, professor and chair of Westminster's department of psychology, and Dr. Eileen Morelli, associate professor of education.

First Book officers for 2012-2013 are Maggie George, Jocelyn McCartney, Kayla Oliver, Leah Ritter, and Lauren Sutton.

Contact Morelli at (724) 946-6035 or email for additional information. 

Students receive their first book at the showing of the Velveteen Rabbit