Students’ reading feeds the needy |

Students’ reading feeds the needy

What’s the gift that keeps on giving? How about a barnyard of farm animals?

The kids of Glenwood Springs Elementary School announced Monday night they’re ordering up a bevy of livestock for needy people around the world with proceeds they made through Read to Feed.

The announcement was made at the school’s Literacy Night, the culmination of February’s I Love to Read month. Many schools in the region ” and the country ” are holding similar celebrations to acknowledge various reading activities that were held this past February to promote reading.

“It’s neat because we’re helping other children around the world,” said third-grader Cullen Beckler. “I got a dollar a book. I read 31 books.”

Through Heifer International, a nonprofit international relief organization, Read to Feed student participants receive pledges from parents and other donors for each book they read.

“Students are exposed to things outside of themselves, plus it gives them a great incentive to read,” said Glenwood Elementary principal Sonya Hemmen.

This year, Glenwood Elementary raised a whopping $3,125 for their read-a-thon, and Wal-Mart pitched in $1,000 to bring the kids’ total to $4,125.

Roy Moore participated, too

In 2003, students at Roy Moore Elementary School in Silt raised an astounding $3,438 through Read to Feed.

According to English teacher Jenny Zetah, students used last year’s money to buy 58 farm animals.

Silt students will hold this year’s Read to Feed assembly on Friday, when they’ll announce the amount of money they raised and what animals they will buy.

“Each month, our school has had some kind of reading incentive to motivate kids to read more,” Zetah explained. “They receive an extra recess, prize or attend a special event.

“For February, the students read to change the world … to learn about giving instead of always receiving,” she said.

Older students contribute to “Read to Feed” as well. In 2003, Rifle High School’s International Club students donated $390 they raised to Roy Moore’s “Read to Feed” fund-raiser.

Special delivery from Beatrice

At Monday’s “Literacy Night,” Glenwood Elementary students got an extra-special treat: a note written to them from Beatrice Biira, a little girl from Uganda whose family received a goat from Heifer International.

Since Beatrice’s family received the goat, she has become a spokesperson for Heifer International.

She’s appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s television program, and has written a book about the goat that changed her family’s life.

A portion of Beatrice’s note to the children was read aloud at Literacy Night.

“Glad to know of how much those students understand and feel for other children,” Beatrice wrote. “They are doing the most wonderful job.”

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

Glenwood Springs Elementary students voted on what kind of animals they wanted to donate to Heifer International. They decided to buy 3 heifers, 5 goats, 4 sheep, 2 water buffalo, 3 llamas, 1 pig, 2 honey bee hives (with bees), 2 bundles of tree seedlings, 2 trios of rabbits, 4 flocks of chicks and 4 flocks of ducks.

(When asked how many chicks and ducks are in a flock, little Olivia Hayes, a Glenwood Elementary student, wasn’t sure, but she knew it was “a lot.”)

The animals will be purchased and given to needy families, who will pass the offspring to other families in need.

For information on Heifer International, go to

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