Most of us can recall our favorite childhood books and who read them to us at night.
But there are children in West Orange County who don't have their own books or don’t know the thrill of opening a new book.
The Observer Media Group’s Reading Reindeer is kicking off its 20th year of collecting and handing out new books to be given to needy children at Christmastime. The Observer The Observer is partnering with Healthy West Orange and the West Oaks Mall 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. Each year, Reading Reindeer gave away more than 5,000 books.
They are distributed to multiple organizations: Edgewood Children’s Ranch, Community Health Center, Migrant & Homeless Early Education Program of Orange County Public Schools, Resurrection Catholic Church, Head Start and prekindergarten program at Maxey Elementary School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winter Garden and the Ocoee and Winter Garden police departments’s 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 60,000 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 Observer Media Group office at 720 S. Dillard St., Winter Garden, Florida 34787.
This year’s campaign ends Dec. 9, and new books will be accepted until that date. The program is being coordinated by Allison Brunelle, and she can be contacted by calling the Observer office at (407) 656-2121 or emailing her at [email protected].