Times & Observer kicks off Reading Reindeer literacy program

The Reading Reindeer is collecting children’s books for its 19th year in West Orange County.

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Do you remember your favorite book as a child? Do you remember a loved one reading it to you night after night?

There are children in West Orange County who don't have books to escape into or haven't had the opportunity to experience the thrill of opening a brand-new book.

The Observer Media Group’s Reading Reindeer is ready once again to do its part in collecting new books to be given to needy children at Christmastime. The Observer is partnering with Healthy West Orange to help reach its goal of 5,000 books.

New books for children from infancy through middle school are being accepted for this annual literacy project. Last year, Reading Reindeer distributed more than 5,000 books.

They are distributed to 16 organizations: Edgewood Children’s Ranch, Maxey Community Center, Winter Garden Children’s Health Center, Migrant Early Education Program of Orange County Public Schools, Matthew’s Hope, West Orange Neighborhood Center for Families, Play and Learn Day School, Resurrection Catholic Church, St. Jude Catholic Church, Head Start and prekindergarten program at Maxey Elementary School, Center for Drug-Free Living, Docs for Tots at Health Central, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winter Garden and the Ocoee and Winter Garden police departments’ toy giveaway programs, as well as the children served by the West Orange Christian Service Center.

Reading Reindeer was started in West Orange County in 1998. Community support has enabled Reading Reindeer to bring new books to close to 55,000 children. New businesses and civic groups have joined annual donors to make this holiday literacy effort a success each year.

Red donation bins are set out in locations all over West Orange County for donors to drop off books.

Through cash donations, this program also provides a new copy of Dr. Seuss’ ABCs to the parents of all babies born at Health Central throughout the year — approximately 700 births annually.

The community is invited to join the effort to improve literacy levels in West Orange County. Checks payable to Reading Reindeer also can be mailed to the Times office at 720 S. Dillard St., Winter Garden, Florida 34787.

This year’s campaign ends Dec. 12, and new books will be accepted until that date. The program is being coordinated by Sarah Felt, and she can be contacted by calling the Times office at (407) 656-2121 or emailing her at [email protected].


Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].


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