Lincoln County, Missouri – Acclaimed American comedian and radio personality Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift that you can open again and again. Lincoln County residents, St. Stephen’s UMC (United Methodist Church) members and volunteers gathered at Fairgrounds Park earlier this month to celebrate and share this gift with a free book fair that lasts all day.
The event was sponsored by UMC St. Stephen, which leads UMC’s national Pathways Out of Poverty program in the region. The goal of the program is to reduce poverty rates nationwide by improving children’s literacy skills.
According to Deborah Kimberly, who helped organize the event, “over a thousand children’s books were given away.” The fair, which ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featured books for all ages and most demographics, including fiction, nonfiction, history, education, religion and more. . Note for the organizers, between 50 and 60 Bibles were distributed.
More than 300 leftover literature was collected after the fair and donated to Love Packages, a charity based in Decatur, Alabama, which ships recycled religious literature to missionaries and undeserved communities around the world.
Troy PD donated coloring books on stranger danger and child safety, as well as literature on drug use, according to Kimberly. Volunteers created “safety packets” that included this material, and during the event they distributed nearly 100 packets to children and teens who wanted them.
“Not all [of] the volunteers [at the fair] were from St. Stephen’s,” Kimberly said, “but they all came to help. Indeed, a group of nearly 20 volunteers orchestrated their efforts and volunteered their time at the book fair to complete a stylish task, a task that Kimberly simply declared, “Getting books into the hands of little kids for free.”