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Monfredo: Worcester - The City That Reads Annual Book Drive Sets Goal of 600,000 Books

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Yes, the weather will be spring-like soon and while you’re thinking of “Spring Cleaning” consider looking over children’s books in your home that your children no longer use, or if you’re a retired educator you may want to start parting with those children’s books that were so precious to you.

Worcester: the City that Reads is once again starting its 13th annual book drive.   We are looking for books, PreK to grade eight … new or gently used. The Committee was founded by my wife Anne-Marie Monfredo and me thirteen years ago.  We have continued to promote literacy in the community, put books into the hands of children who lack books in their homes, and promoted the importance of being a lifetime reader.  In 13 years we have given out over 580,000 books to the children in this community!  This year our goal is to go over the 600,000 book collection mark.

The public and the business community have been wonderful in assisting us on our mission to put books into the hands of our children. Not only have we had additional sites for the public to drop off their books but we have had families and students make this a learning project.   We have had families such as the Irelands in Holden with their 5-year-old hold a birthday party and the children attending the party donated books.  We have had students celebrating their bar mitzvahs by having family and friends bringing books to the event.  In addition, students attempting to become an Eagle Scout have made this project their mission.  The same can be said of students wanting to do community service who volunteered by being part of the drive.

On the business side, we have had companies such as Houghton Mufflin Harcourt publishing company donate 1000’s of books to the drive.  Harvard Pilgrim has gone book shopping and spent over $500.00 on new books.  Hanover Insurance employees donated 100’s of books to their drive.  Wilson Language Center not only collected books but also donated gift cards to purchase additional books.

On the college level, we have had many of our local colleges taking this on as a project with WPI leading the way last year with the most books collected.  So that’s a challenge out there this year to other colleges.  The same can be said with the high school students competing with other high schools for both public and private high schools have done their share of collecting.  Last year, Bancroft High School led the way in the most books collected so we’ll see what happens this year.

Groups such as the Northboro Women’s League collected hundred’s of books and earmarked them for Chandler Magnet School. In addition, there are many individuals who are working at sites where books are donated and have made this project their project. Their names are too numerous to mention but they have done it year after year.  I thank them for their willingness to help make the drive work.

The community has done this because of their commitment to literacy for research continues to state…

Children in low-income areas do not have access to books and many live too far away to visit the public library.  It has been estimated that children lose between 2 to 3 months of academic growth during the summer time because they are not reading or engaging in meaningful learning activities.  Thus, this is known as the “summer slide.” (More on that topic in future articles.)
Parents of children living in poverty may lack the money to buy books, may not have easy access to good children’s books, and may not themselves have been read to as children, with the results that millions of children are growing up without books. Reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of absenteeism, school dropout, substance abuse – all of which perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.

Finally, on the research, studies clearly indicate that children in homes that have books are more likely to succeed in school, while children who don’t have adequate reading skills are much more likely to drop out of school. One study found that the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success – regardless of family background.

This brings me to this year’s drive for we have added additional sites for the public to drop off their books…  Please donate a new or gently used books, Pre-kindergarten to grade 8 at the following sites from now to May 15th.

Worcester Public Library, including their branches ….People’s United People’s Bank  (all six city branches) including the town of Shrewsbury … Commerce Bank (all four city branches) including Holden …Bay State Savings Bank (all branches)… TD Bank on West Boylston Street


Stop and Shop on Lincoln Street, Grafton Street, and West Boylston Street … Shaws Market on West Boylston Street

Worcester Credit Union on West Boylston Street …Worcester Public Schools on Irving Street…Worcester City Hall – first floor on Main Street

Starbucks Coffee at one West Boylston Street … Panera’s on West Boylston Street … Bagel Inn on Main Street in Holden

Jewish Community Center on Salisbury Street… Austin Liquor at Gold Star Blvd

Leader’s Way – Kung Fu Academy on Burncoat Street

Greendale YMCA … Main Street YMCA

RSVP and the Senior Center on Vernon Street

St. Vincent’s Hospital at the entrance door on Summer Street 

Anne’s Books Shop on James Street in Worcester

Headshop Hair Factory in Millbury …Summit Elder Care on Grafton Street

In addition, as of this writing, the following businesses and organizations will be having their own book drive in an attempt to assist the children of Worcester…

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company … Worcester Railers Hockey

UMass Medical and UMass Memorial

Fallon Health on Chestnut Street   …  Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital

Hanover Insurance … Harvard Pilgrim …UNUM Insurance

Wilson Language Training Center … Northboro Women’s Club

Webter Five Bank … Worcester Bravehearts baseball

AFL/CIO LABOR … Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts …Little leagues of Worcester

Worcester Public School High Schools… Burncoat High, Doherty High, North High, South High,  Claremont Academy, University Park Campus and Worcester Technical High.

Private Schools … Bancroft School …Holy Name High School…St. John’s High School …Notre Dame Academy …Worcester Academy ...Venerini Academy

The following colleges and universities: WPI, Clark University, Holy Cross College, Becker College, Worcester State University, Anna Maria College, Assumption College, and Mass. College of Pharmacy, Salter College, and Quinsigamond Community College.

For more information, or if other schools or businesses are interested in helping out please call John or Anne-Marie Monfredo at 508 853-3444.  Remember, everyone can help in this most worthwhile community service project and bring the joy of reading to every child.  Remember, No skill is more crucial to the future of a child or to a community, than literacy.  These and other future sites can be accessed in the Worcester Public Library Website or the Worcester Public Schools Website. 


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