BRADENTON, FL – Throughout the summer, while children from low-income families receive food at numerous Manatee County School District "Summer Break Spot" sites, United Way Suncoast's Summer Pals program volunteers have traditionally handed out books, activity worksheets and books, and provided learning and reading activities each week while children receive their lunches. This year, staff members realized they were critically short of books for younger children and almost entirely without books for older children; they sent out a distress call to Goodwill Manasota so that the children served at several Manatee County sites by the Summer Pals program could all participate in reading activities and select books to take home.
Goodwill Manasota donated numerous boxes of books for all ages as well as vouchers for books at its Bargain Barn North location to supplement available resources for the approximately 350 children receiving nutrition assistance at Turner Chapel, Lincoln Park and Pine Villages Apartments. United Way Suncoast particularly appreciated the books for middle and high school-age children, for whom they had almost no books before Goodwill stepped in, as well as bilingual and baby board books.
"The early education books donated by Goodwill Manasota are fantastic and our families were so excited to receive them. We hadn’t had any middle school to high school books in the past and our teens were thrilled to attend the nutrition sites and receive a book this year," said Cassandra Decker, Community Engagement Senior Specialist for United Way Suncoast. "I just cannot thank Goodwill enough for its help and for finding such a meaningful way to contribute to our community."
This is not the first time Goodwill has provided books for other organizations in the community. Last year, Goodwill donated hundreds of books to St. Martha School in Sarasota when nearly all of the 14,000 books in its library were damaged through moisture intrusion. Additionally, through Goodwill's Good Readers program, volunteers read to students enrolled at Title I schools and bring donated books for the children to take home.
“Strong literacy skills are closely linked to the probability of having a good job, decent earnings, and access to training opportunities,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “It is the greatest weapon in the ongoing struggle between success and failure – between economic insecurity and prosperity. We were thrilled to provide books for United Way Suncoast's Summer Pals program and help to foster a love of reading and learning for the children served at several Summer Break Spots in Manatee County.”
For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721.
Photo ID: United Way Suncoast Summer Pals volunteers look on as children served through the Summer Break Spot program select books to take home
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.