A Day of Literacy will be held Thursday to help collect badly needed books for local elementary school libraries.
During the day, the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way will be collecting new or gently used books appropriate for first and second grade students.
Ginger LeCompte, United Way's executive director, said the book drive is designed to improve educational opportunities for local children.
"We are targeting the first and second grade level because, sadly, a lot of our children are not reading at their grade level, so we thought this would be a good place to start," said LeCompte, who added that while those grade levels are the target, the Day of Literacy will be glad to accept books for all grade school levels.
After the books are collected and sorted, she said they will be donated to area elementary schools to help start or supplement their school libraries.
"We hope everybody will be generous. We would like to be able to distribute a lot of books to our schools," LeCompte said.
"One of our main focuses is on education as a way to bring about sustainable change," said LeCompte, who added this area suffers from both a high illiteracy and high drop out rate. "Early literacy is the best way to combat this."
Anyone wishing to donate a book can drop it off at the Eunice City Hall at 300 Second St., the United Way office in Opelousas at 311 W. Vine St., at the St. Landry Parish School Board office on Creswell Lane or at the Ville Platte City Hall, 126 E. Main St.
She said Barnes & Noble bookstores are also supporting the effort, which is being coordinated by United Way offices throughout Acadiana.
"For every book purchased, Barnes & Noble will donate a percentage of the funds received to our school district to purchase additional books," said LeCompte, who said people should use the code number of 10683134 when making their purchases, "or just tell them the region you are donating to."
She also encouraged businesses and schools to invited their employees, students, family and friends to join this community-wide effort by hosting a book drive or volunteering to collect donated books.
For more information, visit United Way online at www.uwsle.org or call 942-7815.
Click here: Day of LIteracy article in The Daily World