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At Hood River Library, AmeriCorps volunteer Ryan Zoellner and Children’s Services Director Jana Hannigan put donated books into bags. Zoellner, a Denver native, recently graduated from Colgate University. 

Donated books and bags of Lego toys are going out to Hood River County children in a partnership between Hood River Library District and Library Foundation and Hood River County School District.

Library Children’s Services Director Jana Hannigan coordinated the collection of used and new books and Legos, which were delivered last week to school meal pickup points at each of the county’s elementary schools, and with meals at stops along bus routes along with the meals. 

A second batch of books, about 500, will be ready around the first week of November, according to Hannigan.

Each bag contains a book, a library bookmark with a thinking question and a free donut coupon (donated by Rosauers).

The books and Legos, as are meals, available to anyone 18 or under who requests them.

Books have come from a variety of donors, along with the Legos. The books and miscellaneous toy pieces, are put into bags and distributed via the school district for children to select.

“The foundation has also donated money so we can purchase books for this Meal Site book giveaway project. So now we have both used donated books from the public and new books from discounted vendors who support the underserved,” Hannigan said. She orders books from First Book, a grant-supported local literacy program that partners with local agencies to distribute books to families.

“It is a pretty wonderful blending of protagonists, all coordinating to get books (and Legos!) to the kids who need them most during this hard time,” Hannigan said. She credited the parents and grandparents cleaning their toy boxes and book shelves, School District Nutrition Services Director Heidi Benson, kitchen managers, AmeriCorps volunteer Ryan Zoellner, bus drivers, library staff, Rosauers management, and other supporting organizations.

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