Note: This is one of several stories today that are “catch-up” work from February. -KtE

COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop a group of dedicated individuals who want to make sure that children have a leg up when they start school by providing them books on a monthly basis.

2021’s An Afternoon with the Authors event was held on February 21, 2021 and provided Ferst Readers of Polk County the opportunity to raise funds through the auction of gift baskets that included books signed from their authors, along with sweets and direct donations to the organization.

Debbie Ross, the Regional Program Coordinator for Ferst Readers, said that a final tally of how much was raised wasn’t immediately available since donations are still coming in. The organization regularly raises thousands of dollars annually to help Ferst Readers mission of providing an age-appropriate books to youth from birth through 5 years old free of charge.

The program’s goal is to raise the literacy level of youth locally before they enter school, giving them the opportunity to start kindergarten by reading on grade-level.

Chick N’ Scratch Bakery in Rockmart also held an online auction of baked goods to help raise money as well.

Those who were unable to make it to the event but want give this year can still do so by visiting and making a donation at anytime. Specifically, when making the donation please make sure that you have selected “Polk County” among the dropdown list of places that participate in the effort to increase youth literacy.

This year alongside the event, the community was encouraged to read “The Night the Lights Went Out” by Karen White. Check out this review of the novel from PCHS’s Arleigh Ordoyne available now.

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