United Way hands out books to kids

wcrenshaw@macon.comJune 21, 2014 

Until he was a sophomore in high school, Albert O’Bryant spent most of his leisure time playing video games.

Then he discovered reading.

“I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for reading,” said O’Bryant, who is now a student at George Mason University in Virginia. “Reading informs you.”

On Saturday, he was among many United Way volunteers hoping to steer more youths away from TVs and toward book. They were handing out free books to youths of all ages at the Buck Melton Community Center.

United Way of Central Georgia orchestrated the book drive as a part of nationwide United Way Day of Action.

Communities were doing a variety of activities to recognize the day, but the local United Way decided to put its efforts toward putting books into the hands of children who don’t have any.

George McCanless, president of United Way of Central Georgia, said studies show there is a great disparity between the numbers of books in the homes of poor children and the number in the homes of middle class children.

He said they originally hoped to have a few hundred books donated for the drive, but many local business held their own drive among employees.

They ended up collecting more than 7,000 books.

“The response has been incredible,” he said. “We are going to be able to put a dent in that (disparity).”

Tamika Badoo brought her two daughters, Jordyn, 6, and Jurnee, 1. Badoo said Jordyn loves to read to her little sister.

“I think it’s great,” she said of the book drive. “It will continue to develop their minds over the summer.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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