Reading Reindeer kicks off holiday literacy program

New children’s books are being collected for the Observer’s annual December distribution program.

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This year’s holiday season might be tougher for many people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Reading Reindeer is ready to do its part to make the holidays brighter for needy children in West Orange County.

The literacy drive, now in its 23rd year, has begun collecting new books to be distributed in mid-December. Books should be appropriate for ages newborn up to 17.

This year’s goal is 5,000 books.

Two organizations that greatly benefit from the Reading Reindeer are the Ocoee Police Department's Holiday Toys, For Kids in Need program and the Winter Garden Police Department's Holiday Gifts For Kids program. Both departments give a book to each child whose parents or guardians sign up for the toy give-away program.

Other recipients this year are the West Orange Christian Service Center, Edgewood Children’s Ranch, Community Health Centers and Spring Lake Elementary School.

Reading Reindeer was started in West Orange County in 1998. Community support has enabled Reading Reindeer to bring new books to close to 70,000 children.

Red donation bins are set out in locations around 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 Hospital throughout the year — approximately 700 births annually.

The community is invited to join the effort to improve literacy levels in West Orange County. Healthy West Orange is a longtime partner.

Monetary donations payable to Reading Reindeer also can be mailed to the Observer Media Group office at 661 Garden Commerce Parkway, Suite 180, Winter Garden, Florida 34787.

This year’s campaign ends Dec. 5, and new books will be accepted until that date. The program is being coordinated by Allison Brunelle, and she can be contacted by calling at [email protected].



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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