Thousands of new books donated to help low-income children

WAUWATOSA -- Learning to read is critical to a child's success, both in school and in life.  But in many low-income areas, books are scarce.  On Thursday, April 26th, three organizations helped provide more than 400,000 new books to schools and groups that work with children.

From Disney-Pixar books, to baby books and those for young adults, piles of books were boxed, sealed and labeled to be shipped off from a warehouse in Wauwatosa.

“We hear lots of stories of those, who even though they want to read, they want to get to a library, they have to cross lines in order to do it and all those different sad stories.  We're trying to turn that around and make sure the kids don't have to go far to get a book,” Katie Niersbach, Operations Manager for First Book said.

First Book teamed up with volunteers from M&I BMO Financial Group and New Threads of Hope to distribute the books.  More than half of those of those books went to 64 organizations in southeast Wisconsin.

“We're picking up about 300 books,” Laura Sumner Coon said.  She runs SOAR, a non-profit in Racine.  “I just can't wait to get the books back to Racine today, because we have after school programs today and we're able to put a book in a child's hands and I'm excited about that.”

Kindergarten students at Messmer Catholic School also took part in a read-a-long at Thursday's giveaway. Each child took home a new book of their own.

First Book says in some of the poorest areas, there is only one book available for every 300 children.  This effort is aimed to bridge that gap and of course, promote reading.

Since its start in 199, First Book has distributed more than 90 million books to low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada.