Velveteen Rabbit

An anonymous donor wants to bless this community’s children. Thinking of a blessing that could touch and help children throughout their lives, the Christian knew just what to give – books. The donor contributed so many books that a Marion church will soon host a special book giveaway.

The Rev. Natalie Justice, Grace United Methodist Church’s pastor, said the donor wants to encourage reading, knowing that it helps children do well in school, builds their ability to think abstractly, and even grow in their faith as well as helping later in life when they study and enter the workforce.

All the books, Justice said, were recommended by literature teachers and have a strong moral foundation. “There’s growth in each book,” she said.

The collection even features multi-cultural books with some addressing racism and learning to love people who are different. Justice highlighted “Roxy the Raccoon,” a book written to help children learn about how disabilities affect other children.

The collection features classic titles such as “The Velveteen Rabbit” and works by Dr. Seuss and newer books such as “Wonder.”

Books are available for children ranging in age from babies to their early teens.

Justice encouraged parents to bring their children. “The idea is for the kids to pick out their books with their parents,” she said. However, she also encouraged parents of newborns and babies to come and get books, noting that reading to even the youngest children increases their word exposure.

For youngsters who need a little help picking out books, church volunteers will be available to talk to them about their interests and help them make selections.

The original book donation inspired other church members to contribute so, Justice said, a multitude of books are available. However, since they’re not sure of turnout, families will be limited to six books.

“It’s one way to help the younger generation grow into the incredible people we know they can be,” the pastor said.

The book giveaway will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, from 1-3 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 720 Grace St. in Marion.

If turnout is strong, Justice said, another book giveaway may be held in the spring.

She emphasized that no strings are attached. For those who are able, she suggested bringing a jar of peanut butter to be donated to First United Methodist Church’s food pantry.

The church will also have Chick-fil-A sandwiches available on a first-come, first-serve basis at 1 p.m.

It will also be giving away information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and how local children can take part in it.

Of the entire event, Justice said, “It’s a way we want to bless the community. We are a church that loves the community.”

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