Pupil-powered book campaign attracts donors

May 05, 2002|By Paul Longo | Paul Longo,SUN STAFF

Car after car pulled into the parking lot of Polytechnic Institute-Western High School yesterday to unload precious cargo: books -- more than 20,000 of them.

The donations went to Baltimore Reads' annual Books for Kids Day, a drive for low-income families in the city.

A committee of six Baltimore-area youngsters ages 8 to 12 helped organize and promote the event by starting book drives at their schools and holding a poster contest, with the winning entry used to advertise the event.

"It's about kids helping kids," said Susannah Bergmann, the information officer for Baltimore Reads, a nonprofit literacy organization. "They see where the books go, and they realize that they're making a difference."

One committee member, Mitchell Cohen, a sixth-grader from Owings Mills, said, "Two years ago, I went through our bookshelves and gave away about 60 books. Then, I heard about this committee, and it sounded like fun, so I got involved."

The pupils lent a hand yesterday by helping volunteers to unpack the donated books. With yesterday's contributions, the organization has acquired about 46,000 books for the year .

"The hope is that this event would have gotten us to our 75,000-book goal," Walters said, "but it is a continuing effort. We have other drives going on, and books are still coming in."

Brenda Adams said she drove in from Carroll County yesterday to drop off a carload of books. "I wanted to donate here because they really spread the books around, and they put the books straight into the kids' hands," she said.

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