Today the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation announced “National March into Literacy Month,” a month-long celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program
. The program seeks to place new books directly into the hands of less fortunate children and in its first year, raised more than $630,000.
The Toys for Tots Literacy Program, the first year-round initiative of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, offers the nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to books and educational resources that enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively.
As exclusive sponsors of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, participating The UPS Store ® and Mail Boxes Etc. ® locations will sell $1 donation cards throughout March. For every dollar donated, a book will be placed into the hands of a local child in need. Centers will continue additional fundraising activities throughout the year, including a coin box program for customers to donate their spare change.
To help raise awareness of the need for initiatives like the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. network has enlisted the National Center for Family Literacy
(NCFL) and its president and founder, Sharon Darling.
“Unless we take action now to end illiteracy, we will never be able to break the cycle of poverty that traps so many children,” said Darling. “For only one dollar, you can put a brand-new book into the hands of a boy or girl right in your own community through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.”
To give the 2009 campaign a healthy launch, Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. (MBE), franchisor of The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. brands, is donating $50,000 and, for the second year in a row, The UPS Foundation contributed a $100,000 grant.
“Our franchisees have enthusiastically supported the Toys for Tots Literacy Program over the last year,” said Stuart Mathis, president of MBE. “We are looking forward to another successful campaign this year and are excited to once again have the support of The UPS Foundation.”
As part of “National March into Literacy Month,” the Toys for Tots Literacy Program will announce the first recipients of an annual literacy award. Two individuals will be recognized on March 18 for their efforts to raise awareness of illiteracy and for instilling a passion for learning in their community.
“Even in the current economy, we have been able to extend our reach and impact in a very meaningful way by giving the gift of reading to those who need it most,” said LtGen. Pete Osman, USMC (Ret), president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Now, with the literacy award, the program will be able to recognize those individuals who truly make a difference in their communities.”
For more information on the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, please visit www.ToysforTotsLiteracy.org