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Give the gift of literacy

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Free books, in today’s economy? Maybe fairy tales CAN come true! The St. Louis Police Department is putting boxes on posts in one city neighborhood. There are stickers on the boxes that read, “Take a Book, Keep a Book.” These library boxes, as they are called, are stocked with books for children to choose from…for free. And if that’s not good enough, police officers are passing out gift certificates good at local businesses to children who write a book report and leave it in the library box. What a wonderful incentive!

Do you know a child who is afraid of police officers? Oftentimes, children in crime-ridden neighborhoods fear the police. This is understandable, as most, if not all of their interaction, is paired with problems encountered. The library boxes provide a wonderful opportunity for the police department to be visible in a positive light to these very same children.

Book collection bins have been set up at all area police stations. The effort has been named “Cops Care Libraries.” Police officers are asked to donate books to the cause and are stocking the boxes while out patrolling this week. Depending upon the program’s success, they are hoping to expand the effort to other neighborhoods in future years. Wednesday marks the opening of Dutchtown’s library boxes.

According to the Department of Justice, illiteracy and crime are closely related. More than 70% of the United States’ prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level. Likewise, according to the National Assessment on Adult Literacy, 67% of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade end up on welfare or in jail.

Is not having access to books worth a child’s life? Of course NOT! Take advantage of the resources in this article to help make a child’s dream come true. What better gift can you give this holiday season…than the gift of life!

If you have used books at home or a little extra cash this holiday season, please consider donating to this incredibly worthy cause. Below are a few other local resources for book donations:

Greater St. Louis Book Fair, (www.stlouisbookfair.org), April 24-27, 2014
Ready Readers, (www.readyreaders-stlouis.com )
Saint Louis Public Library, (www.slpl.org/slpl/library/article240161463.asp)
YMCA, (www.ymcastlouis.org/metropolitan-office/ymca-bookfair)
Jewish Community Center, (www.jccstl.com)
Hands Across the Water, (www.surplusbooksforcharity.org)
Chatillon-DeMenil House Foundation, (www.demenil.org )

Hoping you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Stay tuned for more later this week.

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