Fletcher Cox helps donate 6,000 books to students

By THE YAZOO HERALD,

Fletcher Cox, fellow reigning Super Bowl champion Chris Long, and the nonprofit social enterprise First Book are delivering 6,000 brand new books to students at 35 Mississippi schools and programs this week to celebrate “First Quarter for Literacy Week (FQLW).”

The Chris Long Foundation initiative is designed to get books to children in underserved neighborhoods and encourage family engagement with reading. The donation, funded by Fletcher Cox with a matching donation from Long, is one of four events being held across four cities with NFL stars this week, bringing the total number of books donated to 27,600. Each child will go home with five brand new books from First Book’s curated, diverse book collection.

In the spirit of collective impact, Chris Long challenged fellow NFL players to donate to FQLW and then matched each donation. First Book selected recipient educators from its network of more than 400,000 educators, prioritizing educators who opted-in to the initiative and who demonstrated greatest need for new books.

 “Putting books into the hands of a child is one of the most effective ways to impact their academic trajectory and their future achievement,” said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and co-founder of First Book. “Fletcher and Chris and the First Quarter for Literacy initiative are giving so much more than books with this gift—they’re opening doors to opportunity and possibility. We are so grateful for this partnership.”

Books and resources are critical, but scarce, for kids in need. Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational inequality in the United States, but research has identified vast ‘book deserts’ concentrated in low-income communities across the U.S.—with one community having only a single book to be shared among as many as 830 children.[1]

In addition, fellow NFL stars Andrew Whitworth of the Los Angeles Rams, Beau Allen of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Connor Barwin of the New York Giants funded the book donations, with a matching donation from Long, in Los Angeles, Tampa, and New York respectively. This week, teachers in each city will host “unboxing events” in their classrooms to share books with students and celebrate the importance and joy of reading.