For Immediate Release: Nov. 26, 2012
745 more students. That is how close Books for Keeps is to providing 12 books to every child attending five Athens elementary schools, for the second year in a row. 
“Books for Keeps committed to the Clinton Global Initiative that we’d provide 12 books to every child attending a Clarke County School District elementary school where 90% or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches,” says founder Melaney Smith. “More importantly, we made this commitment to the students themselves, when we distributed 24,000 books at five Athens schools in May of 2012. They are counting on us to come back in 2013.”
Chick-fil-A on Barnett Shoals Road is hosting a percentage night on Tuesday Nov. 27 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. to help Books for Keeps reach its goal.  Board member Whitney Goodstone, a native Athenian, said, “The Chick-fil-A percentage night will kick off our holiday campaign. We must raise the funds to sponsor the remaining 745 children by Dec. 31, and we’ll be on-site at Chick-fil-A to speak with anyone who is interested in helping.”
$25 will provide 12 books–and a tote bag for transport–for 1 child. $480 will sponsor an entire class, and Books for Keeps will share the story on its Web site of any group or business sponsoring a class. 
Says Smith: “Our supporters are getting creative. A tennis team in Atlanta is holding a round-robin tournament to raise the funds to sponsor a class.  A group of high school girlfriends is pooling their funds and submitting the story of their friendship for Books for Keeps to publish.  Dr. Dean Firschein and Allergy Partners of Georgia quickly jumped in to sponsor the first class.  We have 35 classes left, with 745 students, and we must raise the funds for those books by Dec. 31.”
Donors who wish to give the gift of reading to Athens children can sponsor a child for $25 or a class for $480.  The organization also provides holiday gift certificates in any amount, as well as memorial gift letters in remembrance of loved ones.  For more information and to donate, visit
About Books for Keeps:  Books for Keeps started as one woman’s effort to help a child who loved to read but had no books at home. It grew into a grassroots movement to end summer slide in Athens by ensuring children have access to books during summer, and is now a 501(c)(3) public charity. Books for Keeps distributes books to Clarke County School District students ranging from pre-K through 12th grade.  The elementary school program is based on a University of Florida study that found giving economically-disadvantaged elementary school children 12 high-interest books each at the beginning of summer had an impact on reading achievement statistically similar to attending summer school.

Media Contact:
Whitney Goodstone