Toys for Tots literacy program targets summer learning slide

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The UPS Store network has launched its spring Toys for Tots Literacy Program donation drive focused on the importance of summer reading. Throughout May, its customers can help keep children learning all summer long.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, children can lose up to three months of what they’ve learned during the school year over summer break. This “summer slide” can be more devastating to children in lower-income families where reading scores are affected disproportionately and access to books during the summer is limited.

To help raise awareness of childhood illiteracy as well as funds to purchase books for children in need, for every online print job customers submit during the month of May, Mail Boxes Etc., franchisor of The UPS Store, will purchase a book for a less-fortunate child. MBE will donate up to $20,000 worth of books to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Each book is valued at $5.

“Since our network launched the Toys for Tots Literacy Program in March 2008, with the help of our customers, we have raised nearly $1.6 million to purchase books for less-fortunate children throughout the country,” says Stuart Mathis, president of MBE. “We are now offering our print customers an easy way to give back to a deserving child through our easy-to-use online print site.”

In addition to the online print promotion, through May 31 participating The UPS Store locations will collect donations in exchange for children’s activity sheets, which include a 25-cent color copy coupon. The UPS Store locations will continue additional fund-raising activities throughout the year, including a coin box program for customers to donate their spare change. One hundred percent of donations go to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which will use the donations to purchase books for less-fortunate children in the local community.

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program, a year-round initiative of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, provides the nation’s most economically disadvantaged children access to books with the goal of enhancing their ability to read and communicate effectively so they can compete academically and succeed in life.

“Reading not only helps children expand their imaginations, it also helps them strengthen vital skills for a brighter future,” says Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, USMC (Ret.), president and chief executive officer of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Kids want to have fun during the summer, and books can help our nation’s less-fortunate children take their minds on a journey, which can be just as exciting as traveling during the summer break.”