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Celebrate Valentine’s Day, love of reading with Books for Sumter Children

AMERICUS — Treat your valentine to an evening of good food, music and entertainment while helping provide free books for children. Books for Sumter Children hosts its annual Love of Literacy Gala on Feb. 12 at the Griffin Bell Conference Center.

Books for Sumter Children provides a free book each month for children from birth to age 5. That means by the time a child turns five and is ready to start school he or she could receive 60 free books.

“This is a great way to prepare children for school and to instill a love of reading and learning that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Fred Richmond, who organizes the Gala each year and serves on the Books for Sumter Children committee.

Nearly 1,100 children are currently receiving books through the program. Proceeds from the gala help with the purchase and mailing of books and program administration.

“I signed my son Stevie up for the free books through Books for Sumter Children when he was two years old. He is now almost five and every month he still gets so excited when his book arrives in the mail. He just loves them! I enjoy reading these age-appropriate books to him and the newsletter that comes with each book is full of information relevant to Sumter County,” said Tommie Thompson. “As a mom and a member of the Books for Sumter Children committee, I feel this program is a blessing to our county and eventually will make a huge impact on literacy here. I hope it keeps going strong for years to come.”

The gala begins at 7 p.m. when the silent auction opens. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be available during the auction and a surf and turf dinner will be served at 7:45. The Georgia Southwestern State University Ensemble performs during the evening.

Tickets are $50 each. RSVP by Feb. 6 by calling Tommie Thompson at 928-0399.