Bank Rhode Island’s fourth annual book drive with Books Are Wings generated nearly 2,000 books for local students this year.
According to Rhode Island Kids Count, 31 percent of children in the state are reading below grade level. To improve literacy rates, Books Are Wings provides free books to children in low-income families.
Throughout the month of April, books were collected at BankRI branches and then distributed to students in Central Falls through a weekly book fair-style event.
“It was amazing to see people coming into our branches with handfuls of books for children who may not have any in their home,” said Patricia O’Donnell Saracino, vice president of community relations at BankRI.
There was also a literacy event and book swap held at Warwick Mall, which had storytelling, crafts and an opportunity for children to select a book to bring home.
In the past four years, the book drive has collected more than 7,000 books. •