Assistance League of East Valley collected 635 books during a Children's Book Drive in support of volunteerism on Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27. The books have been donated to Children First Academy for homeless children, Head Start programs in the Tempe Elementary District, a rural school where many children's parents are incarcerated and Adams Elementary in Mesa.
The group joined with 93 other Assistance League chapters across the country for the book drive. Nationally, 113,101 books were collected for distribution to local schools and Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as hundreds of other nonprofit agencies dedicated to improving childhood literacy.
"Adams Elementary has had funding cut that usually was available to purchase books for every student three times a year," said Lucia Causey, the local group's vice president for philanthropic programs. "The media center director was ecstatic to learn that books would be available through Assistance League for the Christmas distribution. For many students, their only Christmas gift is a new book."
Microchip employees donated 100 books, and a retired reading teacher donated another 100, Causey said. A high school teacher had 80 students work in pairs to create their own bound children's books.
While promoting literacy among the nation's children is a priority in the Assistance League, the organization's largest philanthropic effort is Operation School Bell, providing clothing, shoes and hygiene kits to elementary school children. During the 2011-12 school year the East Valley group provided new clothing and uniforms for more than 6,500 needy children in Chandler, Mesa and Tempe.
The organization has a thrift store at 1950 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, on the southwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Warner.
To learn more about the work of Assistance League of East Valley go to www.assistanceleagueeastvalley.org. All Assistance League members are volunteers.