May St. readers send some `comfort' to NYC

The kids chose their favorite book titles, and gave them away.

"The Hobbit," "Black Beauty," and even "Captain Underpants" are on their way to New York City in a goodwill and literacy project that started at May Street Elementary on Sept. 11.

Students and teachers formed a gift-wrapping party last week, packaging a couple hundred books that will go to children on the East Coast.

In October, May Street kids enlisted family members in a reading pledge drive, devoting a day or half-day to turning pages as a way to raise money for the books.

"We had a coin drive, which was a good thing to do, but we wanted something the kids could do to support the Sept. 11 victims," said second-grade teacher Emily Rowan. "It was easier for the kids to visualize."

Students really got into the mood on reading day, bringing pillows and stuffed animals.

"We know how much comfort we get from reading," said Cheryl Madsen, first-grade teacher.

The students raised $968, and a Girl Scout group from the school added another $150 they had raised. Fifth-grader MacKenzie Ragan said the group set up a babysitting service after Sept. 11, with excellent response from parents.

"We didn't want it to go to anyone else, besides the kids who lost their parents," MacKenzie said.

The school donations were sent to Volunteers of America, which is setting aside money to buy books and school materials for children whose parents died as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The students get something in return, besides the satisfaction of helping their peers across country. The books were purchased at last month's school book fair, with part of those proceeds coming back to fund programs at May Street.

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