Sunday is the last day of a second annual statewide book drive, and the goal is lofty: 100,000 books — 5,000 more than last year.
"The only way out of poverty is through education. That's why this is important," said David Kimble, executive director of Trees for Life International, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita.
This month, the organization's educational branch, Books for Life, has been collecting used children's books in front of each Kansas Dillons store for its Teach the World to Read book drive.
Many of the books from last year's drive went to libraries in Nicaragua, and many from this year's drive will be sent to Pakistan.
"My children here in Kansas get a tremendous education," Kimble said. "But two-thirds of the children in the world don't have these opportunities."
In addition to promoting education in impoverished countries, a portion of the books will be used to create libraries in impoverished areas of the United States, such as Appalachia.
In Kansas, the books from Dodge City will be used to fill oak bookcases two volunteer carpenters make to give to children of that area in need.
As one of the carpenters, David Grayson, has been heading the project for the past two years. He said the bookcases cost $60 to build, and he tries to fill each with a "starter set" of age-appropriate books before presenting them to each child.
"In the past, I've had to run my own drives to collect books," Grayson said.
This year, Grayson and his wife, Sheila Grayson, obtained permission from Kimble to use the books collected within Dodge City.
Jillian Hutton, the book drive coordinator, said each Dillons has at least one volunteer to collect, sort, package and deliver the books to Books for Life.
"Hopefully we'll get a lot more books these last couple days," Grayson said.
How to donate:
Bring any good, used children's picture books to the drop location in front of any Kansas Dillons store through Sunday. Books should be free of political or religious content.
For more information, visit www.booksforlife.org/bookdrive or call Jill Hutton at 316-945-6929.