Perdue Farms and the Eastern Shore Literacy Council have partnered to make age-appropriate books available to 2,400 eligible children in Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The global Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books each month to children from birth to age five, free of charge through funding shared by local community partners.
A $10,000 grant funded by the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, will make books available to eligible children in Accomack and Northampton counties. The funds will cover the cost of the books and postage to mail them directly to children’s homes. Perdue’s donation is part of the company’s “Delivering Hope to Our Neighbors®” initiative focused on improving quality of life and building strong communities.
Rose Rulon, Eastern Shore Literacy Council executive director, said promoting family literacy is “an essential element” in the council’s 36-year mission to help people enjoy the joy of reading. Registered children receive a free book once a month until age five through the program.
“The books will stimulate development of emerging literacy skills in preschoolers, provide easy-read books for older siblings to practice their reading skills at home, and provide adults, who are working on their literacy skills, with opportunities to spend quality time reading with the family,” said Rulon. “We’re grateful to Perdue Farms for their generous support. It gives us the ability to connect children with the resources they need to succeed.”
“The Imagination Library is a wonderful program, and we are very honored to be able to provide funding to assure its success on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,” said Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation.
Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, country music legend Dolly Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children in her home county in Tennessee. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by giving free books to children from birth to age 5, through funding shared by Parton and community partners in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Republic of Ireland. Today, her program gives more than 1 million free books each month to children around the world.
“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams,” Parton wrote for the library’s website. “They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted more than 172,000 million free books since its inception in 1995. To learn more and to register your child for free books, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com