Thousands of new books were donated to Kansas City, Kansas, children this week by the Rotary Club of Overland Park.
The books are being sent home with children in the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, as well as area preschools and Head Start programs.
Three semi-trailers of books came in Monday and Tuesday, and the books had an estimated value of more than $800,000, according to one Rotary member. The books were distributed to 18 preschools, 30 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and five high schools.
Mike Meyer, with the Overland Park Rotary Club, said many different individuals and groups came together to make the book donation possible. The groups included Rotarians; Kansas City Kansas Community College TEC Center, which provided warehouse space for the books; Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland and Parks and Rec staff who provided personnel and vehicles to load the books; the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools; the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library; the Kansas City Chiefs Ambassadors; People to People International; KC United; and Feed the Children.
At a book donation event today at KCKCC-TEC, Meyer recalled his history teacher at Washington High School, Richard D. Shannon Jr., who was killed in Vietnam. Shannon had donated his funds toward college scholarships for local students.
“We’re doing it for him, in his honor today,” Meyer said.
“It’s more important than ever that we teach our kids to read, to better ourselves,” Meyer said.
Trish Reedy, president of the Overland Park Rotary Club, said the new books include some of the newer Disney movie titles.
Mayor Mark Holland said it was remarkable for the UG, the school district and community college to come together with the donors to make this happen. He helped drop off the books at a few schools and said students received two to three books each.
“I could not be happier today,” Superintendent Cindy Lane of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools said.
“Yesterday and today were just like Christmas for our kids,” Lane said.
Many of the children have not had the opportunity to own their own books, and they will talk about them and share the books with their peers, she said.
The vice president of programs for Feed the Children, Erin Carlstrom, said their goal is to feed the minds of children as well as the bodies.
“It does not get better than this,” said KCKCC President Doris Givens, thanking the Overland Park Rotary. She said the college was proud to be the host of this event and to be able to help with the book distribution.