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On the National Mall: 150,000 Books for Kids in Need

Volunteers Assemble 50,000 Backpacks for Summer Reading

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WASHINGTON, June 22 – Yesterday, the first day of summer, hundreds of volunteers descended on the National Mall in Washington DC to put tens of thousands of brand-new books into backpacks for children in need.

The "summer reading" backpacks – 50,000 of them altogether – are being distributed to elementary school children from low-income families across the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Each backpack contains three brand-new books, as well as a “reading kit” featuring tips, activities and bookmarks.

First Book was proud to help United Way by providing the 150,000 books, as well as staff and volunteers. The event was part of United Way’s annual Day of Action, a series of events around the country.

"This is important because our kids really need the books to read; we're real short on books," said Janet Tender of the National Children’s Center in Washington DC, on hand to help assemble backpacks. "This will help them out throughout the summer."

Volunteers came from all over the DC region, as well as from other states along the Eastern seaboard. The volunteers included public school teachers from DC, Maryland and Virginia, DC firefighters, vacationing families visiting the nation’s capitol and even passers-by on the Mall who stopped to help out.

"Summer is the most wonderful time of the year, especially for readers," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "We love being able to provide new books to kids that they can read over the summer, and we're grateful to all today's volunteers for helping to make that possible."

First Book provides books for kids in need year-round, all across the country. Visit us online to find out how you can get books for the children in your community.

About First Book

First Book has distributed more than 80 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada.  By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and the elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.