FAIRMONT - Every first-grader in Fairmont got to choose a book to take home from school Wednesday, all thanks to two local moms who decided to do a little fund-raising.
Karman Brinkman and Sarah Pfeffer, local Usborne book sellers, went around to local companies asking for sponsorship in their goal of providing students with books.
"We are just moms," Brinkman said.
Karman Brinkman and Sarah Pfeffer hand out books to students in Bethany Huse’s class at William Budd Elementary School in Fairmont.
It is the second year the pair have undertaken the project.
Last year, they raised enough to give all first- and second-graders a book, as well as donate books to kindergarten classrooms.
This year, the pair received enough donations to cover first-graders at William Budd, St. John Vianney and St. Paul's Lutheran, and they are expecting more donations in the near future. Books purchased with those funds will be given to second-graders.
"(First grade) is when a light bulb turns on for reading," Brinkman said of why they chose that grade level.
Local donations were matched 50 percent through the "I Love to Read Project" by Usborne, a company that sells books at home shows and through education outlets.
To tie in the books with the sponsors, Brinkman and Pfeffer offered books to the children related to those companies - a book about trees was sponsored by Thate's Tree Service, one about a ballerina from Dancin' Plus, a book about food from HyVee. Thirteen local businesses donated to the project.
Brinkman said they raised $670, not including the 50 percent match of $335. Each donated book had a value of about $5.
The success of the I Love to Read Project has inspired the pair to expand their community outreach, with programs such as "Badges for Books," which would bring police officers into classrooms to read to students and give books, or create a summer reading program.