HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – JetBlue is encouraging kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading and today they’re in Texas helping communities that have had so much washed away — literally.
In 2011, JetBlue launched a program they call Soar with Reading to help get books to young people in need. That need grew exponentially last August when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. And like so many storm victims in the Lone State State, the Houston Public Library System is still suffering from the devastation of Harvey.
Since the storm seven of the Houston Public Library’s 42 branches have closed “long-term.” The negative impact on communities has been palpable. Hundreds of children and adults have been left without access to vital services and books that their public libraries provide.
As part of the Soar with Reading initiative, today JetBlue unveiled and installed a book vending machine in Houston that will dispense 25,000 brand-new, free books for kids up to 14 years old through the month of December. While the vending machine goes away with the New Year, the books donated in partnership with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing are the kids’ to keep.
A Houston Public Library Foundation event held Monday also raised funds for the library system, including money to purchase a new Mobile Express vehicle that will help service storm effected communities by handing out books and providing educational programming to areas still dealing with library closures.
Since its inception, Soar with Reading has supplied nearly $3,000,000 worth of books to kids in need and continues to help fight “book deserts,” by offering kids free access to age-appropriate books.