FALL RIVER – The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has teamed up with local wholesale book dealer Book Enterprises LLC and Fall River City Councilor Dave Dennis to get 100,000 books into the hands of Fall River school students.
The first phase of the donation has a retail value of $1 million with a total contribution of $2 million when completed – the largest donation of its kind to the Fall River School Department in the history of the city.
Ocean State Job Lot is headquartered at 375 Commerce Park Road in the Quonset Point Business Park in North Kingstown. The discount regional retailer has 111 stores throughout all six New England states and New York. Ocean State Job Lot purchased the books from Book Enterprises, LLC, a wholesale book supply business run by Rochester, Mass. resident Jason Zutaut. Job Lot’s Charitable Foundation covers the cost of the books, warehousing and shipping.
Five city schools have been selected by the school department to receive the deliveries over the course of the 2013-14 school year: Doran Elementary, Kuss Middle, Morton Middle, Stone Therapeutic Day Middle, and Talbot Middle schools.
Called “Operation: Book Drop,” the program officially kicked off on Dec. 19 with a morning delivery of more than 1,000 books to the Doran Elementary School. The books are for use by teachers in the classrooms and the library.
Fall River School Department Director of Professional Development Pam Pacheco, along with literacy coaches and department chairs, hand-selected each title at the Book Enterprises warehouse, choosing various science, math, geography, technology and other scholastic genres. The books are library-bound editions, which are unavailable to the general public and are meant to withstand use and handling over time.
Earlier this year, Jason Zutaut and City Councilor David Dennis conceived this initiative out of a simple conversation they had at a February school vacation reading event, held at Book Enterprises’ retail store.
“Jason and I identified this important need of public schools in Fall River, and he offered up the books to fill that need, working with Job Lot’s charitable organization to help make it happen,” recalls Councilor Dennis. “This represents the best of a public/private partnership that started between two civic-minded people on a handshake.”
Dennis added that neither the parents nor the school system have the discretionary dollars to purchase books such as the ones that are being donated.
“Operation: Book Drop helps us make sure every student in the city gets access to books to read and learn from,” he said. “Despite all of the technology that is out there, books still play a big role in education.”