BankRI launches annual book drive to support local students

BANK RHODE ISLAND recently launched its annual Children’s Book Drive in support of Books Are Wings. All 22 of the bank’s branches will feature a collection bin for new and gently used books throughout the month of March, which will then be distributed to school and community programs in Pawtucket, Providence, Central Falls and Woonsocket.

PROVIDENCE – Bank Rhode Island recently launched its annual Children’s Book Drive in support of Books Are Wings, a Pawtucket-based nonprofit that puts free books in the hands of children, the bank announced.

The drive, which began March 1 and will run the entire month at all 22 of the bank’s branches, will feature marked bins near the branch entrances to collect new and gently used children’s books that will then be distributed to school and community programs, with a focus on the core cities of Pawtucket, Providence, Central Falls and Woonsocket, according to a news release.

Just 18% of third graders in these under-resourced communities meet expectations in reading proficiency, according to the 2022 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook.

“The relationship between reading proficiently at an early age and future education outcomes is unmistakable – the more a child reads, the more success they’re likely to have in the classroom,” William C. Tsonos, BankRI’s CEO and President, said in a statement. “Every year, the community comes out in force to support our book drive and that generosity makes a real difference for local kids.”

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This is the 14th year BankRI has partnered with Books Are Wings on what has become one of the largest annual collections for the organization, the bank said.

Last year, Books Are Wings distributed 57,005 books, nearly 10,000 of which were donated through BankRI’s 2023 effort, according to the release.

“Everything we do is all about fostering a love of reading, and that begins by ensuring all children have access to books – it’s shocking how many kids grow up in homes without age-appropriate books,” Jennifer Smith, executive director of Books Are Wings, said in a statement. “This BankRI drive is a significant source of books for us, and I want everyone to know that every single book we receive helps to make a difference.”

The book drive also features a way to participate virtually by purchasing a book from the Books Are Wings Amazon Wish List, which can be found on its website at BooksAreWings.org/donate-books.

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