HAMMOND | Putting books into children’s hands is one of the things Hammond Reads, Inc. does best. This April, the not-for-profit literacy organization donated 625 books to children at the city’s three WIC offices. Additionally, 387 pamphlets emphasizing the importance of reading to children were distributed to parents.
This book distribution represents a new focus for Hammond Reads’ Project ABC initiative. “Originally, Project ABC was created to give a baby book, and information on the importance of reading, to mothers of newborns at Franciscan St. Margaret Health,” says Hammond Reads president Clint Turpen. “However, in recent years the hospital began sending maternity patients to other campuses. We were faced with a question: how do we continue to reach parents and children while keeping our focus on Hammond?”
This winter, the group decided to begin distributing books through the three WIC offices located in Hammond. “This project lies at the core of what we do. Nationwide, sixty-one percent of children from low-income families do not have a single book in their homes. We’re trying to change that number in Hammond,” says Turpen.