Book drive promotes reading among families

Published 11:47 am Monday, March 21, 2016

Families now have access to books to read with their children, thanks to a book drive headed by the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children.

Throughout March, and in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, BHPC joined with its book drive spokesperson, North Carolina Senator Bill Cook, and the faith-based community to collect new and gently used children’s books to support its mission of encouraging families to read aloud with their children, according to a BHPC press release.

“When parents read aloud to young children every day, they are improving their child’s readiness to read and learn,” Cook said. “Time spent reading together as a family serves as the foundation for giving our children the best start.”

By providing books to families, the nonprofit is working to educate about the importance of reading aloud daily with their children, the release said.

“Studies show that children benefit when they are read aloud to every day for at least 15 minutes per day, beginning at birth,” said Lisa Woolard, BHPC executive director. “But many families and children do not have books and without books to read, literacy suffers; and when literacy suffers, education and opportunity decline.”

In 2015, BHPC collected over 4,000 books as part of its Plant the Seed to Read—Read Aloud Campaign. The books are distributed to families and made readily available in locations where families receive services such as in pediatrician offices, according to the release.

Among locations books are placed include: Pamlico Animal Hospital, Medical Park Pharmacy, Fitness Unlimited, Ruff Cuts, Beaufort County DSS, Beaufort County Health Department, Coastal Pregnancy Center, Agape Health Clinic, Ruth’s House and Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s Emergency Room. In Belhaven, book depots are located at Vidant Urgent Care, Amy’s Tienda and One Stop Hair Styling. Vidant Family Medicine in Aurora also has a Read and Return Book Box.

Donated books are also placed in Reach Out and Read clinics, as well as Little Libraries in Havens Gardens and Beebe Memorial Park, for families to share. The books collected during the book drive are also given to families attending festivals in Beaufort and Hyde counties and during pre-kindergarten screenings and open house events, according to the release.

“Families are encouraged to enjoy books from any Read and Return Book Box and then later exchange a book for another story to enjoy,” Woolard said.

Area churches are invited to participate in the book drive, and books may be donated directly to BHPC. The organization relies on local fundraising efforts, in addition to Smart Start funding, to continue providing programs and support for children and their families, the release said.

For more information, visit or to received updates about local children’s events and information for families. BHPC is located at 979 Washington Square Mall in Washington, located behind Belk. If a church would like to participate in the children’s book drive, call Kris Bowen at 252-975-4647, ext. 22.