When it came time to take part in its parent organizations Day of Action, the United Way of Central Georgia decided to attack one of the key challeges facing the midstate: education.
To do so, the United Way has begun collecting new and used childrens books for a June 21 event at the Buck Melton Community Center. The event will feature activities for children and readings from local author Rhonda Singletary.
Education has really become a priority (in the community), said Betsy Fitzgerald, vice president of leadership giving and major gifts for United Way. Children have to have access to books so they can read at the grade level they need to read at.
Fitzgerald said the typical American family owns 13 books on average, but in the midstate theres one book for every 300 children.
The community has rallied to the cause, donating 1,400 books even before United Way has had the chance to spread the word. There are several collection points in Macon, and Fitzgerald said she hopes the book drive will have a significant and broad-reaching impact by assisting other organizations collecting books.
Because its our first year, we were worried we might not have as many books collected, she said. But weve already had 1,400 donations. There are other groups that need help (collecting books) as well.
Fitzgerald said 24 local companies -- including The Telegraph -- are helping out with the book drive.
Barnes & Noble at The Shoppes at River Crossing will host a kickoff event Thursday and will accept donations through June 9 at the store. In addition, the store will have a special promotion code that gives 10 percent of the proceeds to United Way.
Fitzgerald said other collection points for donated books are the branches of State Bank, Capital City Bank and MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union, and the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The response has been so overwhelming that we want to continue to do this in the future, Fitzgerald said. Hopefully, we can make it an annual event.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.