The only thing better than milk and cookies may be the non-profit organization working to end childhood illiteracy, Milk + Bookies! At its 8th Annual Storytime in Culver City, children, parents, and volunteers came together to donate books to children who would not normally have access to them. With live literary characters like Captain Hook and Harry Potter interacting with the children, story-themed arts and crafts, and a number of the celebrities in attendance reading aloud to kids, the children at the fundraiser had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a realm of reading.
During this recent fundraiser, actress Julie Bowen, best known for her role on Modern Family, received the Champion Award for her continued support of the organization and its efforts. Since 2011, a year after the organization began its annual fundraisers, Bowen has attended the organization’s celebrations, reading aloud to the kids in attendance and sometimes bringing her own kids with her so they would have a chance to participate in the festivities. At a previous celebration, Bowen said, “It’s a beautiful event! [Milk + Bookies] always [does] a beautiful job. There’s always lots to do, and the kids really like it.”
Bowen praised the way that Milk + Bookies goes beyond endorsing a love of reading by supporting a love of giving to those in need, saying, “I love that they managed to make a charitable giving idea so fun. They just remind you [of] how awesome reading is, how awesome books are.” The actress went on to say, “And then they roll in this idea that giving books is a good idea. They almost sneak it in there. You almost don’t notice.”
Milk + Bookies gave kids at the Celebration a hint of how great it feels to give something to someone in need via a book drive. The kids each chose a book provided by Discover Books, wrote a message or drew a picture in the book they picked, and then donated it to Milk + Bookies. After the kids made their donations, they were congratulated, reminded that their donation is helping others, and given stickers. From there, their donated books were incorporated into the organizat
ion’s Choose + Keep Book Fairs, which allow every single child at participating Title 1 schools and in-need organizations the chance to pick and keep a book they’ve never read.
The non-profit reports that 400,000 kids from low-income families go without access to new, age-appropriate books in Los Angeles. This leads children to have fewer opportunities to practice their reading comprehension, and often causes them to get left behind academically. This is reflected in the statistic that 1 in 4 elementary school kids can’t read at the standard level in California. Milk + Bookies was able to donate 120,000 new titles to schools in need in the Los Angeles area in 2015 alone, doing its part to bridge the gap between kids who are yet to have the chance to develop a love a reading and the books with the power to remedy that.
Bowen recognizes Milk + Bookie’s power to inspire young kids and change lives. She doesn’t plan on slowing her support of the organization anytime soon.
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