Books get new life in a St. Ed charitable push

St. Edmond Elementary School students are collecting books for Backpack Buddies.

The Catholic school’s second-graders are bringing donations of used books to give to the program which provides food for needy students on weekends.

The effort was inspired by The Joy of Reading, according to Ann Knobbe, St. Edmond teacher.

“Katie Averill’s foundation, for her daughter Emily Averill, presented all the second-graders in Fort Dodge with the book ‘Have You Filled Your Bucket?'” Knobbe said. “One of her objectives is for us to pass the joy of reading onto others. So throughout the school year we’re trying to pass the joy of reading to others in our school and the community.”

The books for Backpack Buddies are ones children have finished reading at home or grown out of, Knobbe said.

“If you think about it, if families are struggling with food on the weekends, they probably don’t have a lot of extra money to buy books for their children,” she said. “They’re going to put the books with the bags of food, so when kids are getting their meals they’re going to get some books too.”

The effort has been under way a month with a goal of donating 200 books, Knobbe said.

Charity, at St. Edmond, is an educational standard.

“It’s good to teach the kids how to give to others. And you don’t always have to spend money to donate to people,” she said. “It’s another way of incorporating service into their school day and giving to others.”

Laurie Strandberg, elementary teacher, said her students are excited about helping in the effort.

“We’ve had lots of books brought back,” she said. “They want to spread the joy of reading to other kids.”

Candy Streit, elementary teacher, supports the Backpack Buddies effort which was organized by Terry Moehnke, of Fort Dodge. Moenke will also help distribute the books.

“During Lent we always try to do some kind of service project, so this has tied in really well to that too,” she said. “It’s teaching the kids we need to give to others. It isn’t always about ourselves. And within our own community too. They can see they’re helping people within our community.”

According to Streit, charity is valued.

“That’s our message here, is to be charitable, to think of other people, and to kind of relay that in all of our actions,” she said. “At mass, our homily was ‘just do it.’ Don’t talk about it, do it. I think this is a good project that demonstrates that.”

Donations can be delivered to the St. Edmond Elementary School office at 2321 Sixth Ave. N.