Thanks to the Community’s Generosity, 22,159 Books Collected for Local Children

Providence, RI – More than 100 volunteers spent the first official day of summer sorting thousands of children’s books at United Way of Rhode Island’s (UWRI) Day of Action—a worldwide United Way event to create change in local communities. The books were donated by local businesses and organizations during UWRI’s annual Children’s Book Drive.

Now in its third year and created by the Women’s Leadership Council of UWRI and Books Are Wings, the annual Children’s Book Drive began on May 1 at 74 businesses and organizations, and continued through June 13 to coincide with the start of summer learning programs. With the books now sorted and labeled, distribution has begun to 17 Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative programs, where enrolled children can choose books to take home and keep. The program is offered in 12 communities statewide and serves many low-income families.

The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI) is supported by a public-private partnership among Hasbro, the Rhode Island General Assembly, and United Way of Rhode Island. The program brings together community-based and school-day educators to provide a hands-on summer learning curriculum with an emphasis on service learning, with remarkable results. In 2013, students enrolled in an HSLI program performed better in at least one of two skills (i.e., literacy and math) in 93% of the sites, and average gains of 32% in literacy skills and 27% increase in math skills were demonstrated in pre-/post-test data. In contrast, low-income children average a two-month loss in both reading and math over the summer, when learning opportunities are limited or non-existent.

“The outpouring of generosity shown by the community, both in donating books and giving of time to volunteer, underscores the commitment so many have for improving literacy among our students,” said Anthony Maione, president & CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “These books will reach children engaged in summer learning, and play a critical role in helping them avoid summer learning loss.”

For more information on the annual Children’s Book Drive, including a list of participating companies and organizations,

About United Way of Rhode Island

United Way of Rhode Island has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island communities for more than 80 years. UWRI’s mission is to mobilize the caring power of the community to improve the lives of people in need and address the issues Rhode Islanders care most about. For more information, visit


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