Group organizes book drive for children in Belize

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A group from Southeast Missouri is helping organize Books for Belize, a book drive aimed at increasing literacy in several small, rural communities in the Central American country of Belize.

Dr. Tammy Baldwin, Southeast Missouri State University professor of mass communication, and her husband, Henry Sessoms, as well as Tim Blattner with First Financial Consultants in Cape Girardeau and his wife, Dr. Nancy Blattner, vice president and dean for academic affairs at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, are among those spearheading the effort.

The project originated from a visit Nancy Blattner made in 2007 to Belize, when she learned of the need for books for children there. The group's goal is to collect 25,000 books to give to children's libraries in 13 rural communities in Belize. The first library is currently under construction.

The group will collect books through Dec. 12. They are seeking books suitable for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, dictionaries, atlases and encyclopedias. To date, 15,000 books have been collected.

Book donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays at First Financial Consultants at 1221 Kingsway Drive.

The books will be transported, free of charge, by Genesis Trucking in Cape Girardeau to North Carolina. Cross International will then take the books by boat to Belize at no charge.


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