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June 14, 2011 > Launch of major literacy effort

Launch of major literacy effort

Submitted By Sheila King

Responding to dramatic education budget cuts nationwide, Safeway, Reading Tree and Reading Partners have launched a book donation, mentoring, reading access and literacy program for children and schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. Ninety Safeway stores in the Bay Area and Northern California now have large, blue Reading Tree containers in place exclusively to collect books on any subject and for any age that are no longer needed.

The program kicked off June 8 and will serve approximately 2,000 students at 36 schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.

"This is a wonderful program to benefit our area schools," said Karl Schroeder, president of Safeway's Northern California Division. "School budgets are tight and so these donations to area schools allow children who may not have access to books to experience the joy of reading. We're proud to offer our customers and the general public a chance to give back in this way."

Reading Partners will help select some of the schools to receive books. The organization trains volunteers to teach reading to struggling youngsters during one-on-one tutoring sessions that are integrated into the students' regular school day. Safeway employees also will volunteer to read to children.

Gina Zambori is executive director of Reading Tree, a national non-profit organization that collects all kinds of books and donates undamaged children's books to schools, libraries and families who need them. The organization has placed large, blue book collection bins at 90 Safeway stores.

"We are eager to serve youngsters in schools throughout the area and expect to have books that have been collected by Reading Tree in several schools when school starts again in late August," she says.

"Safeway, Reading Tree and Reading Partners bring their resources and commitment to this new collaboration for families in the area," says Zambori. "We're confident that school children will have more books that are fun to read thanks to our collaboration."

Reading Tree Collection Bins are at the following Safeway stores in the Tri-City area:

Fremont: 3902 Washington Blvd.
Hayward: 231 W. Jackson
Livermore: 4495 First Street
Newark: 5877 Jarvis Ave.
Pleasanton: 1701 Santa Rita Road
San Leandro: 555 Floresta Blvd.

To find more store locations of the Safeway-Reading Tree's blue collection bins in the Bay Area and Northern California visit www.readingtree.org and click on "get involved." Schools, retailers, groups and individuals who would like more information can email info@readingtree.org or call toll-free (888) 402-2665.

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