January 24, 2005 – Posted at 4:12 p.m. CST
BATESVILLE -- Students at Southside Elementary in Batesville are reading books and impacting children across the globe, and they are doing it with the help of Arkansas First Lady Janet Huckabee.
“Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. In that regard ‘Read to Feed’ was developed as a way to introduce children to global issues,” said Deborah Keene of Heifer International.
Children are inspired to read more books for pleasure, while raising money through sponsored reading, to help end world hunger and improve the environment.
“For every book they read there is so much they raise for Heifer International and that money in turn is donated,” said Brock Bridges with Scholastic, “Heifer International uses those funds to help those other countries help those families around the world with the livestock.”
“We work in sustainable, long term development,” said Keene, “What we do is provide animals, livestock and training so that people can actually take care of themselves and build a life, not just feed them for today.”
“The gift keeps giving. Once that animal is given over, then it produces and they have to give another animal away to somebody else. And that benefits that family and soon it benefits the community,” said Mrs. Huckabee.
Southside Elementary is just one of three schools nationwide hosting the "Read to Feed" challenge, but it's something Mrs. Huckabee says we can expect to see more of across the Natural State.
“We had a rally like this a week ago, and we've already had 116 different teachers call and want to get involved,” said Mrs. Huckabee.
Scholastic Books donated 500 books to the Southside School's library, not bad for the world's largest publisher of children's books.
“There are so many activities and things that kids can get involved with today that sometimes reading can take a side line and by getting books in children's hands and having a reason for them to read for whatever it might be, it gives them an opportunity to read more,” said Bridges.