Imagination Library Ushers in New Year With Kroger Donation Drive Surprise

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | 6:00pm

Major Grocery Retailer Raises Over $10,000 for
Early Childhood
Literacy in Middle Tennessee Stores

NASHVILLE – Imagination Library organizers from 16 Middle Tennessee counties were greeted in 2008 with a surprise contribution from one of the region’s most popular grocery chains. Proceeds collected over a three-month period from customer deposits into donation boxes at area Kroger stores grossed more than $10,700 for county Imagination Library programs.

“Partnering with the Imagination Library was a tangible way to give back to the communities our employees and customers call home,” said Kroger’s Community Relations Director Melissa Eads. “This gift is one way our company can make a difference in the lives of children early on, helping them to prepare for a successful start in school, and in life. And, because the cost of the program is so reasonable, even a donation of just over a dollar in coins delivers a high-quality, hardback book to a preschool child.”
 
Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library provides a new, age-appropriate, hardcover book every month to registered children from birth to age five, at no cost to the family and regardless of income. The cost of purchasing and delivering books – just under $30 per child, per year – is split evenly between a not-for-profit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county, and a State budgetary allocation administered by the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. Proceeds from the Kroger change drive are allocated toward the sponsoring organizations’ share – around $15 per child, per year – in 16 middle Tennessee counties.
 
“It was a privilege to surprise our county organizers with this type of contribution,” said Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation President Lady A. Bird. “They were thrilled to start off their New Year with such a significant gift. To think that extra coins collected from Kroger customers will pay the counties’ half of providing over 9,200 books to registered Middle Tennessee children is wonderful, and remarkable.”
 
Middle Tennessee recipients of fourth-quarter Kroger change drive proceeds are Imagination Library programs of: Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Dickson, Franklin, Lawrence, Maury, Montgomery, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Warren, White, Williamson, and Wilson counties.
 
One of the nation's largest retail grocery chains, Kroger operates 59 stores and 30 fuel centers in Middle Tennessee.   The company supports a number of charitable causes, including breast cancer research, hunger relief, K-12 education, and other grassroots community initiatives.
 
Any child in Tennessee under age five can be registered for the Imagination Library. Just over 50 percent of the state’s eligible population – almost 190,000 children under age five – is currently registered in the program. More than 70,300 Tennessee five-year-olds have already “graduated,” meaning the Imagination Library has served nearly 261,000 children since the creation of the Governor’s Foundation in 2004.
 
To learn how you can support the Imagination Library in your county, or for information on registering a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org, or call 1-877-99-BOOKS.

Books from Birth