Book donation event draws 1,400 students, parents

By Eric Cravey
Posted 10/17/18

When Hurricane Irma ripped through Clay County, the Futch family saw their Middleburg home and all its contents destroyed by a shocking force of nature.

In the storm, Robert Futch, 11, who reads …

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Book donation event draws 1,400 students, parents


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – For the second time in a year, students across Clay County will have the chance to add 10 new books to their library this weekend in a book drive happening at Green Cove Springs Junior High.

Just like last year, the Clay County Education Association in collaboration with the American Federation for Teachers will bring in 40,000 books to the school in another “First Book” event.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. any child accompanied by a parent or guardian can pick out 10 books to take home, free of charge. Those wishing to get books, however, should arrive as soon as possible.

“We’re saying 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but we’re really just going until we run out of books, which could happen before 4 p.m.,” said CCEA President Renna Lee Paiva.

While the number of books might run out, Paiva said organizers plan for the event to last longer than 2017’s event, which was over in just under an hour-and-a-half. This happened because unlike this year, there was no limit on the number of books a child could take.

On top of that, the drive wasn’t too strict on parental supervision. To ensure that doesn’t happen this year, though, a 10-book limit will be enforced. On top of that, no child will be able to take home any books without a parent or guardian present with them.

Despite last year’s book drive mishap, Paiva said it’s the only reason they’re able to hold the book drive this year.

“It’s only because of what happened last year that we are even allowed to do it a second year,” Paiva said. “Usually, they [American Federation of Teachers] don’t let that happen. We have to compete with every county in the system and they were so impressed with our event last year – how popular the event was and how organized it was despite running out quickly – that they’re allowing us to do it again this year.”

Without the help of the AFT, the book drive just wouldn’t happen. This federation, a national union, sponsors the drive and gives the CCEA and the district the money to pay for 40,000 books. On top of those books, the Clay County School District partnered with the CCEA to give them an additional 2,600 books for children.

The Green Cover Junior High Principal Jen Halter said she’s happy that her school can serve as the site of the event.

“I am honored that [Paiva] chose our site,” Halter said. “It’s the second year they’ve hosted it here and we’re always happy to help.”

The books at the event will range in age suitability ranging from the youngest of children to 18 year olds. Beyond books, each student will receive a free tote bag to carry the books, bookmarks and journals, both in Spanish and English. Parents at the event will also receive child identification packets so they can register their children with police services.

Paiva said attendees can expect to wait in lines outside of the junior high cafeteria while waiting for their time to pick out some books, and as a result, should prepare accordingly. There will be free water for everyone present, though.

As long as supplies last, any child up to 18 who is with a parent or guardian can take home 10 books for free.


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