Updated:
April 20, 2022

EquipmentShare Employees Partner with Heart of Missouri United Way to Give Elementary School Children Books for "Read Across Columbia"

Press Release
In the Press

This is a part of EquipmentShare’s 2nd Annual Giving Back Week

COLUMBIA, Mo. — EquipmentShare’s employee-led Giving Back Committee is committing $15,000 to provide backpacks for approximately 650 Columbia Public Schools students for Read Across Columbia. The backpacks will be filled with four books and one coupon for a free book from Daniel Boone Regional Library. The CPS students attend five area schools: Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary, Benton Elementary, Derby Ridge Elementary and Parkade Elementary.

With EquipmentShare’s help, United Way purchased the books through Peace Nook, a local bookstore. The four books being featured this year are: We Are Water Protectors, Place Inside of Me, Whoosh and Lift.

Andrew Grabau, President/CEO of Heart of Missouri United Way, said, “By reaching kids that need the most support, United Way is excited to work with EquipmentShare in Read Across Columbia. By removing barriers to literacy, we are helping 1st and 2nd grade students to learn not only how to read, but to fall in love with reading! I sincerely appreciate the partnership with EquipmentShare and Columbia Public Schools!”

This donation is in conjunction with EquipmentShare’s 2nd Annual Giving Back Week – a week where EquipmentShare employees are empowered to make their communities a better place to live and work. Employees are encouraged to volunteer and are given paid time off to do so. Giving Back Week also includes: Clean Up Columbia, a volunteer day at Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and a volunteer day with Habitat for Humanity. 

Kinzie Leach, an EquipmentShare Project Management Coordinator, will help deliver books to the schools. Leach said, “I chose to volunteer for Reading Across Columbia in hopes to help provide an outlet for children to escape from their day to day stressors. Being able to curl up with a good book and tune out the world for a while, can help someone's mood improve drastically.”

EquipmentShare team members will deliver books Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20. Dr. Brian Yearwood, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent, will join for a media event at Noon on Wednesday, April 20, at Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary. 

On its website, United Way describes the mission of Read Across Columbia: “Heart of Missouri United Way removes this barrier to literacy by getting kids their very own books. Read Across Columbia puts inclusive book titles into the hands of all first and second grade students at our five elementary schools with the lowest reading proficiency scores and highest free-and-reduced lunch rates. These same schools are also the most diverse in our district. Each Fall and Spring, United Way volunteers pack bookbags with 4 books plus one coupon for a free book from Daniel Boone Regional Library, for approximately 650 kids. By reaching kids that most need support, we are advancing equity in education.”

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