‘United We Read’ project returns for fourth year

Local United Way leaders are teaming up with the Starkville Kiwanis Club and Family Center Excel by 5 for a project they hope will be a real page-turner for people across a four-county area. Joining the team with their support is Atmos Energy, Rotary Club of Louisville, East Mississippi Lumber Company, and Copy Cow.

Beginning April 3rd, the “United We Read” project will be an effort aimed at helping to promote and encourage reading and literacy across Oktibbeha, Choctaw, Webster and Winston counties.

In its fourth year, the “United We Read” project “is a great opportunity for the community to come together to help promote literacy. I love that you can do something as simple as donate books and make such an impact said Caitlin Rackley, co-chair of the project. Richard Switzer, committee member and Kiwanis Club board member, said “The mission of Kiwanis is to improve the world one child and one community at a time. Education is one of the fundamental requirements towards improving the world. Encouraging reading by giving away books for all ages helps strengthen the main building block of education and therefore the Kiwanis Club of Starkville is proud to participate in the United We Read book drive.” Chase Landrum, committee member, said that “It feels really good to be able to give back to the communities in Choctaw and Webster Counties. I think promoting literacy in Mississippi is important and United We Read is a great way of doing that. United We Read provides books to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them.”

The “United We Read” project will take place in two stages. The first part of the project involves a community book drive from April 3rd to April 28th.. Community members are asked to donate slightly used fiction or nonfiction books – either paperback or hardcover – they no longer want or need. Donors should not bring magazines, used activity books or reference books such as encyclopedias or college textbook.

Collection bins for book donations will be placed at the following locations in Starkville:

  • Cadence Bank (Downtown)

  • First Methodist Church

  • First Presbyterian Church

  • Greater Starkville Development Partnership

  • United Way of North Central Mississippi Office

  • Starkville Properties

  • Starkville Sportsplex

  • Book Mart and Café’

  • Emerson Family Schools

  • OCH Regional Medical Center

  • Child Development Center

  • R&M Tires

  • Shipleys

  • Synergetics

Collection bins in Choctaw County will be placed at the following locations:

  • MSU Extension Service

  • Choctaw County Public Library

Collection bins in Webster County will be placed at the following locations:

  • Piggly Wiggly

  • Plymouth Tube

  • North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora

Collection bins in Winston County will be placed at the following locations:

  • Louisville City Hall

  • Winston County Courthouse

  • Winston County Extension

  • Winston Furniture Company

  • Stephanie’s Shenanigans

  • Tabor Drugs

Once collected, volunteers will take the books to OCH Medical Center and other locations to be sorted according to reading level/age group and prepared for redistribution at the “United We Read” Book Giveaway events to be held on April 29th from 10 am – 2 pm at OCH Medical Center in Starkville, Choctaw County Public Library in Ackerman, Webster City Public Library in Eupora, and Winston County Library in Lousiville. The book giveaway events will provide children, youth and adults an opportunity to select books they can read during the summer months. Any books remaining after the “United We Read” Book Giveaway will be donated to the four local libraries for their “Friends of the Library” group to use for their monthly fundraisers, homebound senior citizens, and the Little Free Libraries program.

For more information about the “United We Read” project or to volunteer, call the United Way offices at (662) 323-3830 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday or send e-mail to unwayokt@maxxsouth.net. Messages left at the United Way office will be returned as soon as possible

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