GREAT FALLS — Several months ago we asked the community to donate to the KRTV "If You Give A Child A Book" campaign. This month, those donations helped put brand new books in the hands of students at West Elementary School in Great Falls.
With donations from KRTV employees, the community, and a matching gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the campaign raised more than $11,000 toward the purchase of five books per student at West.
On Tuesday, every student in the school, from kindergarten through the sixth grade, was surprised with a bag of books that staff selected from a list provided by Scholastic.
“They were extremely excited. They just don’t always get things like this,” said West principal Lyndsey Stulc. “And so, to get their hands on books that belong to them, and they get to take home if they want them, they were ecstatic. We’re very thankful for everyone that made this happen.”
“I’m really happy and thankful that we got them,” said fourth-grade student Colton Kupfner. “And I would really love to read them.”
West was selected as the recipient of the books, due to its status as a Title I school. The student body is comprised of many kids that come from low-income households, who often lack access to reading materials at home.
So not only was the gift of books thrilling, in some cases it will be life-changing.
“It’s just an opportunity that they would not have had,” Stulc said. “And so, the more exposure, the more reading, the more text that we can get into the hands of kids, it just increases their abilities in school and to be successful, and that’s really what we need right now.”
In total, Scripps affiliated stations raised more than $825,000, distributing more than 165,000 books to kids in low-income households across the country.