Donate a Book This Holiday Season and Help an At-Risk Student Succeed

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (November 27, 2017) - Children's Reading Partners, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the West Hartford Rotary Club are teaming up for the fourth annual Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive, which provides new and gently used books to at-risk elementary school students across our region. The book drive will run from November 27 through December 18, with four drop-off locations in West Hartford, one in Manchester, and an online donation option.

Childhood literacy is one of the major predictors of adult success - and the best efforts to teach reading involve both teachers at school and parents at home. However, “teachers in the schools we serve say that many of their students don’t own a single book,” says Alana Butler, director of Children’s Reading Partners, a volunteer literacy program serving at-risk public school students in Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, New Britain, Manchester and West Hartford. “What better way to instill a lifelong love of reading than with the gift of a book?” she adds.

The book drive seeks hardcover or paperback books in new or very good condition, for grades pre-K through 3. New books are given to students and used books are donated to their school library. Drop-off locations include:

  • Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, 860.233.9696
  • Beth Sholom B’nai Israel, 400 East Middle Turnpike, Manchester, 860.643.9563
  • Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, 860.233.8215
  • Keller Williams Realty, 29 South Main Street, West Hartford, 860.313.0700
  • The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford, 860.236.1275

For after-hours donations, please contact book drive organizer Bennett Forrest at 860.977.3176. Financial contributions are also welcome; every dollar is used to buy books for at-risk students. You can contribute online at

The Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive began in 2014, when Butler gave a presentation to the West Hartford Rotary Club. Forrest, a real estate agent with The Miale Team at Keller Williams Realty and an active Rotarian, was shocked by the number of local children who struggle with reading. He organized the book drive in response. “This is our fourth year, and we’re looking forward to a very successful drive. Last year, community members donated more than 1,500 new and used books and more than $1,000 to buy additional new books,” he notes.

Children’s Reading Partners is part of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.  To learn more about the Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive, visit

Photo caption: The Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive benefits at-risk students who participate in Children’s Reading Partners’ volunteer literacy programs. The drive is a joint effort of Children’s Reading Partners, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the West Hartford Rotary Club.


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