Wishes Granted: C&S Wholesale Grocers and First Book Deliver More Than 13,000 Brand New Books to Kids in Need in Response to Educator “Wishes”

KEENE, N.H. and WASHINGTON (Nov. 30, 2017) – More than 13,000 brand new, high-quality books and educational resources will be delivered to 160 classrooms and programs by the end of November, serving kids in need as part of the Book Wish program, a collaboration between C&S Wholesale Grocers and First Book. The initiative granted wishes in seven cities: Keene, where C&S is headquartered; Montgomery, Ala.; Hammond, La.; Miami and Orlando, Fla.; and Stockton and Fresno, Calif. , where C&S operates distribution centers.

More than 130 educators submitted book “wishes” earlier this year, describing how books make a difference in the lives of the children they serve. Educators each received $250 to spend on the First Book Marketplace, First Book’s award-winning e-commerce site that provides thousands of brand new books and resources at low or no cost.

“If I received a Book Wish, I would use the books to encourage the love of reading by choosing books that meet the various interests of my students,” said Christina Smith of Castle Creek Elementary in Orlando. “I would love to be able to get the little girl who is in love with horses a few books she could read independently that she will cherish… There is a little boy in my class from Nigeria who loves to read, and would cherish any book that he received. Many of my students have a love for reading, and I would love to be able to give them a gift that they could cherish—a start to their very own home libraries.”

“Educators spend an average of $600 annually out of their own pockets on books and school supplies—and many spend much more,” said Jane Robinson, First Book’s chief financial officer. “Every Book Wish provides a window into an educator's deep commitment to the kids they serve and reminds us of how we felt in childhood when a gift from a caring, generous adult made us feel safe, connected, and hopeful.”

Book ownership and a print-rich environment are leading indicators of a child’s educational success, but for the 32 million children growing up in low-income families in the U.S., books are scarce. A recent study found that in one low-income neighborhood, there was only one book for more than 800 children, whereas in moderate income neighborhoods, there are 13 books for every one child. In a 2016 poll of First Book’s more than 350,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need, more than 80 percent reported they would have few or no resources without First Book.

“C&S deeply values education and is invested in ensuring as many kids as possible have access to the highest quality resources,” said Richard B. Cohen, Chairman and CEO. “The Book Wish program, and our partnership with First Book, is a natural extension of our core beliefs. We are so glad we can grant wishes.”

C&S has invested in the mission and work of First Book since 2007.