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KEENE, N.H. -- C&S Wholesale Grocers here has kicked off a 2007 literacy partnership with First Book, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that offers children from low-income families the chance to read and own their first new books. Through the "Food for the Body, Food for the Mind" initiative, C&S and First Book will bring over 30,000 new books to programs serving disadvantaged children and give the programs permanent access to First Book's channels for new books.
The initiative's aim this year is to register a minimum of 350 new programs, including preschool, mentoring, tutoring programs, with First Book. Once registered, programs will get an immediate donation of books for their children to keep. C&S will provide at least four books per child in each newly registered program in seven target communities: Birmingham, Ala.; Fresno, Calif.; Honolulu; Aberdeen, Md.; Westfield, Mass.; Central Islip, N.Y.; and Chester, N.Y. Registered literacy programs will also be made permanently eligible for a continuing supply of books through a variety of First Book channels.
"Illiteracy has a profound effect on society as a whole," said C&S c.e.o. and chairman Rick Cohen in a statement. "Research shows us that children who don't learn to read grow up to have a lower engagement in community activities and are more likely to require public assistance later in life. First Book addresses this important issue by feeding young minds, giving children the tools they will need to succeed in school and in life."
C&S provides distribution services to grocery chains and independent stores, delivering to more than 5,000 locations from its distribution centers in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, California, and Hawaii.