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Book pantry installed at Hispanic Center for summer reading initiative

There will be a dozen pantries constructed in parts of the city most in-need of literacy resources and support.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids' community-wide summer reading program will soon get underway with a new name and a new way of promoting literacy during the summer months.

Large gatherings are discouraged this summer, so what was once known as 'Storytime in the Park' is now 'Storytime GR.' This week at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, the program's first Book Pantry was installed.

There will be a dozen pantries constructed in parts of the city most in need of literacy resources and support.

The Storytime GR program will also conduct new book giveaways and food distribution events at several locations throughout the city. The Storytime YouTube account will feature local celebrities reading their favorite children's books.

All of this is to keep kids reading during the summer months when reading skills are often lost to "summer slide."

"We wanted to make sure that those books got out into our communities, communities of color, Latino communities. So these books will be in Spanish, and by Latino Hispanic authors, as well as black authors. So we wanted to make sure they got out here in Grandville," said Daniela Rojas.

The GR Reads program is a partnership between Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Valley State University, the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Read GR and the city of Grand Rapids.

It was funded in part with a grant from the TEGNA Foundation and 13 ON YOUR SIDE.

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