Logistics students from the Effingham College and Career Academy are distributing books to schoolchildren across the U.S., but some of their most-rewarding deliveries have been right here at home.
As part of its partnership with the non-profit organization First Book, the ECCA logistics program donated 1,090 brand-new books Thursday to Live Oak Public Libraries’ Effingham County branches.
The Rincon and Springfield libraries will give the books to children as prizes for the amount of reading they do in the summer reading program.
“The opportunity to reward reading with a new book is fantastic,” said Christian Kruse, library director for Live Oak Public Libraries. “You never know, this book may be the beginning of a personal library that changes a life.”
First Book distributes books throughout the country to children in low-income families. ECCA, the first school in Georgia to partner with the organization, provides First Book with warehouse space at the Effingham County School System’s maintenance facility and a workforce of logistics students.
In exchange, the Effingham County School System keeps 5 percent of the books to give to local students. The contribution to Live Oak Public Libraries was part of Effingham’s latest shipment of books donated by Disney Publishing.
“It makes me feel really good,” said Amanda Godwin, a rising senior in the logistics program. “Sometimes in class you do something that gets sent off, but you don’t actually get to see what happens with it. (With this), I feel like I’m really doing something.”
Effingham County partnered with First Book this year and in March received its first shipment, of nearly 30,000 books. More than 1,400 of those remained in Effingham County and were given to elementary schoolchildren.
“It was great seeing the smiles on their faces,” said Ashley Kieffer, the director of ECCA’s logistics program. “For some of these kids, that was their first book ever that they could call their own.”
The plans are even bigger for next year for the logistics program, the first of its kind in Georgia. After 23 students participated in the first year, 82 are signed up for the coming school year.
Kieffer has a lofty goal for his logistics students to handle and process 400,000 books for First Book in the 2013-14 school year — which would mean 20,000 books staying locally. With that many books, he hopes to expand the local book distribution to less-fortunate students in neighboring counties.
“It’s going to be hard to give away 20,000 books right here in Effingham County,” he said. “We could do it, but I would like to spread it out a little bit.”
The books donated to the libraries Thursday ranged in reading levels from the youngest of readers to early teens. The titles included Tiara Time, Minnie’s Rainbow, Mater Undercover, Agent P’s Guide to Fighting Evil, Clementine, Just Like My Papa, Perfect Scoundrels, and Captain America Joins the Mighty Avengers.