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UPS and the Marines join forces to battle childhood illiteracy

Funds raised locally provide books to children in the greater community. Photo courtesy UPS store 49541 / 2
The UPS store and Marine Toys for Tots Foundation encourage childhood literacy and delivered boxes of books to the Dickinson Early Childhood Center pictured. Photo courtesy of UPS Store #49542 / 2

"Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary." — Jim Rohn

In an effort to help deliver the gift of reading to the less fortunate children in the country, UPS store locations throughout North Dakota will be, once again, joining forces with the United States Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Literacy Program.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the UPS store Toys for Tots Literacy Program, launched in 2008 with the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Foundation. Together, UPS and the UPS store network helped raise more than $4 million and distributed more than 39 million books to the most economically disadvantaged children across the country.

"The community's participation in the Toys for Tots Literacy Program is a key component to the success of this promotion," Lynn Schulz, manager of the Dickinson UPS store, said. "This program provides us the unique opportunity to work with a nationally recognized organization yet make an impact in our local community, which is only possible because of the thoughtful contributions from the people in this community."

Locations throughout the United States raise funds year-round to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to support local children and literacy programs. Every dollar received helps place a book in the hands of a child in need, and thanks to the generosity of the southwest North Dakota area, the UPS store location in Dickinson raised over $1,000 last year.

"We had the pleasure of donating boxes full of books to our Dickinson Head Start program," Schulz said. "I just want everyone to realize that every dollar that they donate stays here in the community and that every dollar is much needed and appreciated."

Dickinson's Early Childhood Center and Head Start program were pleased to receive the donations and have already put the books to good use.

"Toys for Tots' mission is 'to deliver hope,' and to bring the joy of reading to children," a spokesperson for Head Start said. "Our local UPS Store dropped off boxes of books for Head Start and Early Head Start. The books will go toward our schools, which include Berg Elementary, Heart River Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Prairie Rose Elementary, and the Roosevelt Elementary school. We're grateful."

According to research on the subject, children who grow up in homes where books are plentiful go further in school than those who don't have such access. Children from traditionally low-educated families can do as well as children from high-education families if they have access to books in the home, a 2017 study published in the Economic Journal cited.

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program continues to not only deliver the gift of reading, but also the promise of a bright future.

"People can donate cash or new books at participating UPS store locations, ours included," Schulz said. "It's a big deal because 1 in 4 children in America grows up without learning how to read, and students who don't read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than those who do."

For more information about the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, visit theupsstore.com/literacy or visit The UPS Store at 387 15th St W., in Dickinson.

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