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Kiwanis book drive to start later this month

by JOSH McDONALD
Local Editor | February 2, 2024 1:00 AM

KELLOGG –– The Kiwanis Club of the Silver Valley is gearing up for their first-ever, Silver Valley Book Drive. 

The community book drive is aimed at getting books in the hands of kids, to encourage a love of reading and encourage literacy.

Local Kiwanis Club President Braden Thomas had been thinking about a book drive for many years after several people told him that books weren’t always accessible for kids to take home with them from local schools – especially at the younger grade levels. 

“I had friends who said that their kids were grades behind where they should be,” Thomas said. “They say that third or fourth grade is where experts start to see the biggest drop in literacy rates and that’s where my friends’ kids were. And it got me thinking about how someone could help.” 

Thomas isn’t wrong with his numbers, in fact, according to 2023 data from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), 67% of Idaho’s fourth-grade students are reading below their grade level – which is slightly higher than the national average. 

According to the NAAL, Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently at the end of fourth grade end up in jail or on welfare – those kids also have just a 22% chance of catching up. 

“We want to put books, that they can keep, in the hands of kids,” Kiwanian Karen Dapron told the News-Press. “We want to give them the opportunity to beat those statistics.” 

The idea took even further hold during a Halloween trunk ‘r treat event last fall where the Kiwanis Club members watched the attending kids flock to the trunk that was handing out books. 

“Not every kid came and got candy from us, and we had good candy – But every kid went and got a book,” Kiwanian Naomie Welshans said. “And not just little ones, older kids too. Kids like books and I think it’s our job to help them out.” 

They hope that they can generate more than 2,000 books during their two-month drive, which would allow every single student in the Kellogg, Mullan, and Wallace School Districts to receive a free book. 

Thomas, along with the other members of the small committee of Kiwanians working on the project, will be placing donation bins in all of the major communities throughout the Silver Valley to allow people to drop off books conveniently. 

Along with the donations, Thomas has applied for a Scholastic Literacy Partnership, which helps purchase books at a significantly reduced cost. 

The Kiwanis Club is looking for new or gently used books, for ages 0 through 18, but also allowing for books for older audiences as well. 

The Kiwanis Club is also open to taking monetary donations to purchase books – checks can be mailed to the Kiwanis Club.

Donation bins will be at the following locations: 

Pinehurst – Wild Rose Salon

Smelterville – Grocery Outlet

Kellogg – Furniture Exchange and Umpqua Bank 

Osburn – VERS Fitness Studio

Wallace – Mountain West Bank

Mullan is still looking for a potential drop-off place. 

The Kiwanis Club of the Silver Valley Book Drive will begin on February 15 and run through April 15. 

For more information on the book drive, call the Silver Valley Kiwanis Club at (208)763-8659, or if you would like to make a monetary donation you can send it to PO Box 373, Kellogg, ID., 83837. Please make any checks payable to the Kiwanis Club of Silver Valley. 

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