More than 900 books in seven months have been collected for Books for Hungry Minds, a project of the Friends of the Pine Island Library.
The books that were donated were collected in bright blue barrels at Stonegate Bank.
"Thank you to all who donated books during the year," Friends of Pine Island Library President Vicki Morrison said. "A special thanks to Stonegate Bank for hosting the blue barrel."
Friends of the Pine Island Library President Vicki Morrison, right, hands Students Achieving Success Coordinator Rebecca Rose books for the Beacon of H.O.P.E. Summer Reading Camp. Also pictured are Beacon of H.O.P.E. Board of Director President Elsie Stearns and Beacon of H.O.P.E. Executive Director Betsy Haesemeyer.
The books were divided between the Beacon of H.O.P.E. and the Pine Island Community Church Sunday night supper program.
Beacon of H.O.P.E. Students Achieving Success Coordinator Rebecca Rose said she was very excited about the donation of books. She said the books will be given to the SAS students during the Summer Reading Camp, as well as to their siblings. Books will also be placed in the food bags for the backpack program through the Pine Island United Methodist Church.
"When you give ownership to the kids they want to include their friends and siblings," Rose said of the books.
She said it is important for the children to read stories together, as well as with their family members. The books, Rose said can also be used for bedtime stories.
Beacon of H.O.P.E. Executive Director Betsy Haesemeyer said by offering the youngsters their own book it will encourage them to be readers for their brothers and sisters.
The Summer Reading Camp, which is free of charge, will run from June 3 through July 11, for 2nd through 5th grade students. It is held Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Pine Island Elementary School. Rose said the Summer Reading Camp will also include therapy dogs, so the youngsters can read to the dogs.
Morrison said they are excited about the relationship with the Beacon of H.O.P.E. She said by donating the books to the summer reading program they can reach more people in different ways because not everyone has a library card.
"They can start their own little library," Morrison said of the kids.
She said many families have difficulty meeting monthly expenses and purchasing books is an unaffordable luxury.
"The Books for Hungry Minds project provides books to children and young adults who may not be able to afford them," Morrison said. "Going to the library is encouraged, but now always an option for some of our local families."
Books for Hungry Minds began last year after a Friends' member, Pat Halverson, came up with the idea to provide Pine Island children and young adults with their own books.
"The goal of the project is to increase children's access to books and to support literacy," Morrison said.
She said individuals can still donate books for the Books for Hungry Minds project at Stonegate Bank throughout the summer.
The Beacon of H.O.P.E. is currently looking for volunteers to share a little of their time during the Summer Reading Camp for independent reading, games, creating a journal, group projects and more. On Tuesday, May 28, from 5-7 p.m., a Summer Reading Camp mentoring training will be held at the Beacon.