United Way teams with Berrien, Cass County Great Start Collaboratives for reading drive

ST. JOSEPH — United Way of Southwest Michigan will present the ‘Spring Into Reading’ book drive in March in celebration of National Reading Month.

In partnership with Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and Cass County Great Start Collaborative, United Way of Southwest Michigan seeks to collect 5,000 new and gently used books during the month of March.

The parent led book drive will collect books to be distributed through home visiting programs in Berrien and Cass counties, area Great Start programs, ‘reading treasure chests’ placed in Cass County agencies, to provide book racks at area food pantries for children and to add a ‘Read Up’ component to summer ‘Meet up, Eat Up’ sites in Berrien and Cass counties.

“Meet Up, Eat Up’ sites are part of the Summer Food Service Program from the USDA that ensures low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

Studies show that exposing children to books at a young age, and having books to read at home, is one of the best ways to develop children’s literacy skills. The ‘spring into reading’ book drive will get books in the hands of kids who may not have had access before and open a whole new world of words to them, according to organizers.

“One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is the love of reading. Encouraging an interest in books at a young age is a proven way to develop a child’s reading comprehension and inspire the self confidence they need to do well in school,” said Anna Murphy, president of United Way of Southwest Michigan. “Reading at home in their free time is vital to developing the early love of books a child needs to succeed in school, and in life.”

For more information call Julee Laurent at (269) 932-3566 or by email julee.laurent@uwsm.org. Book drive boxes will be set up throughout businesses and organizations in Berrien and Cass Counties from March 1 to March 22.

Participating locations include:

Berrien County

– Overflow Church: 300 East Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor

– Midwest Family Broadcasting: 580 E Napier Ave, Benton Harbor

– Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services: 401 8th Street, Benton Harbor

– Honor Credit Union: 8385 Edgewood Road, Berrien Springs

– Mars Elementary School: 430 W Mars St., Berrien Springs

– Sylvester Elementary: 101 Sylvester Ave., Berrien Springs

– Berrien RESA: 711 St. Joseph Ave., Berrien Springs

– Blossomland Learning Center: 711 St. Joseph Ave., Berrien Springs

– Cook Nuclear Plant / American Electric Power: One Cook Place, Bridgman

– Coloma Elementary Schools: 262 S West St., Coloma

– Coloma Public Library: 151 W. Center Street, Coloma

– United Way: 2015 Lakeview Ave., St Joseph

– E. P. Clarke Elementary School: 515 East Glenlord Rd., St Joseph

– Brown Elementary School: 2027 Brown School Rd., St Joseph

– Lincoln Elementary School: 1102 Orchard Ave, St.Joseph

– Martin’s Supermarket: 2121 Cleveland Ave., St. Joseph

– 1st Source Bank: 1600 Hilltop Road, St. Joseph

– Lakeland Health: 1234 Napier Avenue, St. Joseph

– The Chapel: 4250 Washington Ave., St. Joseph

– Lighthouse Education Center: 379 W. Glenlord Rd., St. Joseph

– Martin’s Supermarket: 5637 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville

– Midway Baptist Church: 7517 Red Arrow Hwy, Watervliet

– Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union: 507 E Main St, Niles

– Martin’s Supermarket: 720 South 11th Street, Niles

– Merritt Elementary School: 1620 Lasalle Ave., Niles

– Brandywine Elementary School: 2428 South 13th St., Niles

– Shelf Life Bookstore: 223 N. 4th St., Niles

– Northside Child Development Center: 2020 N. Fifth St., Niles

Cass County

– Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union: 68925 M-62, Suite A, Edwardsburg

– Edwardsburg Fitness Company: 69855 Rolen Drive, Edwardsburg

– Cheryl A. Lieurance, D.C.: 69001 M-62, Ste. B, Edwardsburg

– Rock, Paper, Scissors: 68837 M-62 South, Edwardsburg

– Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital: 420 W. High Street, Dowagiac

– Tri-County Head Start: 708 Chestnut St., Dowagiac

– Honor Credit Union: 56337 M-51 S., Dowagiac

– Wolverine Mutual Insurance: 1 Wolverine Way, Dowagiac

– First Source Bank: 223 S. Front Street, Dowagiac

– Cass County Senior Center: 60525 Decatur Rd., Cassopolis

– Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union: 1050 E. State Street, Cassopolis

– Lewis Cass ISD Admin Bldg: 61682 Dailey Road, Cassopolis

– United Presbyterian Church: 209 E. State St., Cassopolis

– Sam Adams Elementary: 101 S. East St., Cassopolis

– Cass County District Library: 319 M-62 N., Cassopolis

– Marcellus Elementary School: 301 W. Arbor St., Marcellus

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