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Give the Gift of Literacy, Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, UJA/Federation Westport Weston Wilton and Norwalk, and Norwalk Community College are teaming up this holiday season to get more children reading.

With the goal of promoting literacy and self-esteem, these organizations launched the Books2Connect program, which seeks to provide needy children across the state with books.

"Although Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states, nearly one out of 10 children lives in poverty and for many families, books are a luxury that they simply cannot afford," said Heather Cavanagh, special projects manager for the Westport-Weston Chamber.

Through Dec.12, the program is hosting a book drive for new and gently used books to distribute to children - from infants to high school students. Donated books should be in good condition, with intact spines and no rips or markings on the pages.

Donations can be dropped off at several Westport businesses: Matsu Sushi, 33 Jesup Road; The Westport Inn, 1595 Post Road E.; Lux Bond & Green, 136 Main St.; Sontag Advisors, 5 Sylvan Road; Optical Shop of Westport Inc., 190 Main St.; and People's United Bank at 371 Post Road E., 1800 Post Road E., 1790 Post Road E. (In Stop & Shop), or 361 Post Road W.

Aside from the book drive, Books2Connect works with a variety of local groups - organizations like key clubs, Kiwanis clubs and honor societies - to collect books for organizations that serve families in need.

Since February, more than 2,000 books have been donated to organizations such as The George Washington Carver Center in Norwalk, The Yerwood Center in Stamford, The Ronald McDonald House in New Haven and Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk.

Books2Connect is seeking volunteers to sort and shelve books and to fill requests from beneficiary organizations. Kits are available to help individuals and community groups set up book drives. For more information on running a drive, to volunteer or to drop off new or gently used books, contact Stacy Kamisar at 203-226-8197 or at stacykamisar@optonline.net . Organizations seeking books for children should visit www.books2connect.org and fill out a request form.

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