Stokes Partnership for Children hosted BBQ for Books at Moore’s Springs Manor Saturday night and raised nearly $20,000 to benefit early literacy programs in Stokes County.
“Early literacy skills are the foundation of school,” said Executive Director of SPC Cindy Tuttle. “Last year we decided to put the money we’ve been raising to good use and we began providing every child in Stokes County books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.”
That venture allows children from birth to five-years old to receive a free book in the mail once a month.
Tuttle estimates there are 2,200 children in Stokes and 600 are registered to receive a monthly book.
“It’s a real financial commitment, but we’re already seeing the benefits from it. Children are so excited to receive it. It’s been amazing to hear the stories from parents and grandparents,” she said.
For the past seven years SPC has sold barbeque for their annual fundraiser, but this year chose to dress up the evening with the theme of “pigs and pearls”. The ticketed event drew in 150 people for the dinner and auction.
Over 200 venders donated items and packages to be auctioned off with the money going towards SPC and their programs which include the Howard Mabe Literacy Fund, Reach Out and Read which provides books to be given away at well exams at Pioneer Pediatric Clinic in Danbury, a Lending Library in King, and book giveaways at the annual Little Folks Festival.
“People were so generous because they believe in this as much as we do. We all want to put books in the hands of children,” Tuttle said.
SPC brought on Michael Parker, a professional benefit auctioneer trained at helping non-profits raise money. The choice proved to be a good one.
Parker engaged the audience in stories and games, while raising money for a worthy cause.
“I saw Michael sell a silver dollar for $65 in a room full of state officials. He’s very good at what he does,” Tuttle said.
Stephanie Shockley, a board member and Early Childhood Education Program Coodinator with Forsyth Community College believed the event was a success and will draw in even more people next year.
“If a child is read to beginning at birth to five-years old they have so many experiences before they even begin school. It’s powerful. Reading with a child not only builds literacy, but security and love. That’s a strong foundation we want to have in Stokes County.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.