Favre aids in local book drive
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 23:11
Deanna Favre, wife of former NFL player and Southern Miss standout Brett Favre, and the Rev. Tommy Conway of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church of Hattiesburg have teamed up to ensure that children in Mississippi have happy holidays this season.
Friends of University Libraries, in conjunction with the Favre 4 Hope Foundation, is launching its second annual “Give a Child a New Book Day.” With assistance from businesses, organizations and civic/community groups, the books donated and collected will be given to the Salvation Army to distribute to children in Forrest, Lamar, Harrison and Jackson counties who need a brighter holiday season.
Conway, who serves as chairman of Friends of University Libraries, said giving books to children is more meaningful than toy giveaways. Conway and Favre hope to reach their goal of collecting 5,000 books by getting the community involved.
“Last year, we gave away 3,000 books,” Conway said. “This year, we want to bump that number up to 5,000.”
Participants in this year’s “Give a Child a New Book Day” include the Hattiesburg Women’s Pavilion, Southern Bone and Joint Specialists, Forrest General Hospital, Wesley Medical Center, and several other groups in the Pine Belt area.
Books will be distributed on Dec. 18. The last day to donate is Dec. 7.
“Unless the book looks brand new, we are only accepting books that are new,” Conway said. “This might be the only new thing these children ever receive.”
Book donations are encouraged to be from the infant to 12-year-old age range, but books for children ages 13 through 15 are accepted.
“For many families who face financial challenges, buying books is not a priority,” Favre, an avid biography reader, said. “Reading is such a key element of the education process, so we need to encourage children to read more. I’m excited to be a part of this effort.”
Junior English licensure major Tessa Willoughby has also been involved in this effort.
“It is my responsibility to distribute boxes,” Willoughby said. “Each week when they become full, we pick them up and give them to the library to sort.
“I would love for us to even reach higher than five thousand books. It would be phenomenal. As a future teacher, there’s nothing more important than reading. It affects every single facet of life. New books will make the kids feel important instead of receiving something used.”
Books can be dropped off on campus and at My Imagination Station, Main Street Books, Southern Pine Electric Power Association, and St. Thomas.