Rob Gilstrap said his daughter Haynie loves getting the books in the mail. "The thing that amazes me is that every kid can receive them regardless of income," he said.
Ferst Books of Catoosa County provides free books every month to more than 1,600 registered youth in the county. The organization is now beginning a fundraising effort to help meet the growing needs of this worthwhile community literacy program.
We are looking at an annual operation budget of $50,000," said Melissa Holcombe, chairperson of Ferst Books of Catoosa County. "We are working with our business partners and our friends throughout the community to help us raise around $25,000 this year so that we are able to continue making these books available to local youth. There are no administration costs associated with our program. Every dollar that comes in helps to bring the joy of reading to another young child."
As part of that effort, the organization will present the Ferst Annual Adult Spelling Bee on March 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Ringgold United Methodist Church.
Teams from area businesses and schools are invited to participate in this fun-filled evening of spirited competition. The entry fee for three-person teams is $300. The event is open to the public and admission is free. Donations are welcome. Refreshments available for purchase will include loaded baked potatoes, popcorn and Coca-Colas.
Committee member Robert Hitchcox of Chattanooga Coca-Cola Co. said the program is all about kids learning to read. "If they learn to read now, they read a lot more as they get older," he said.
Applications to enter are available at the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, The Catoosa County News, Northwest Georgia Bank, Gateway Bank and Trust, and Ringgold Telephone Co.
"Even if you do not wish to participate in the spelling bee, we welcome your support in whatever way you can assist the program," said Holcombe.
For more information, leave a message at (706) 965-2297 ext. 198 or Ferst Books of Catoosa, P.O. Box 1175, Ringgold, Ga. 30736. Entry forms will be taken until the start of the event on March 29.
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