By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – With schools and libraries closed, Laurie Zimniewicz was worried that kids stuck at home wouldn’t have access to other worlds.
“Books help you go on an adventure in your mind,” she said. “It opens us to places we can’t be, and that’s so important when you’re sheltering-in-place.”
Inspired by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who put together a program with his local non-profits to distribute books with free lunch pickups, Zimniewicz partnered with Jim Havener, Green Toad Books, to raised money for and distribute books to Oneonta students.
“Many of our families don’t have extra money to invest in books,” she said. “They rely on libraries.”
Additionally, she said, the lack of rural broadband means that some families can’t even use the Huntington Library’s collection of e-books.
It costs $7 to buy a book for a child. “We’re asking people to look at how many kids they want to help get a leg up,” said Zimniewicz. “$70 buys books for 10 children.”
On Wednesday, Havener distributed the books at Riverside, Valleyview and Greater Plains elementary schools when parents came in to pick up school-issued Chromebooks for their kids. “Every single kid got a book,” he said.
And with fundraising underway, Havener is working with the middle and high schools to do a second set of book distributions. Donations can be made at the Green Toad Bookstore, with checks made out to “Hop on Books.”
“We’re so pleased that we can be part of something that will help our young people,” said Zimniewicz.