WORCESTER – The 13th Annual ‘The City that Reads’ Book Drive is in its final weeks and founders John and Anne-Marie Monfredo have set a very ambitious goal — to reach the 600,000 collection mark.

“In 13 years we have given out over 580,000 books to the children in this community.  This year our goal is to go over the 600,000 book collection mark,” John Monfredo, who also serves on the Worcester School Committee, said in a statement.

Since 2005, Worcester: the City that Reads has promoted literacy in the city by putting books into the hands of children who lack books in their homes, and promoted the importance of being a lifetime reader.  The Monfredos have engaged the public along with local businesses and universities.

Employees at area businesses such as Fallon Health and Hanover Insurance have donated hundreds of books to the drive.  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has gone shopping and donated new books. Wilson Language Center collected books as well as donated gift cards to purchase additional books.

“The public and the business community have been wonderful in assisting us on our mission to put books into the hands of our children,” Monfredo said. “Not only have we had additional sites for the public to drop off their books but we have had families and students make this a learning project.”

The Monfredos feel that Worcester has responded so well to this program over the years because of a strong commitment to literacy.

“Children in low-income areas do not have access to books and many live too far away to visit the public library,”   Monfredo said.”It has been estimated that children lose between two to three months of academic growth during the summer time, also known as the “Summer Slide”, because they are not reading or engaging in meaningful learning activities.”

People can donate books throughout Central Massachusetts at the following locations

  • Worcester Public Library and all of their branches
  • People’s United People’s Bank  – all six city branches, including the town of Shrewsbury
  • Commerce Bank – all four city branches, including Holden
  • Bay State Savings Bank = all branches
  • TD Bank on West Boylston Street
  • Stop and Shop –  Lincoln Street, Grafton Street and West Boylston Street
  • Shaws Market on West Boylston Street
  • Worcester Credit Union on West Boylston Street
  • Worcester Public Schools on Irving Street
  • Worcester City Hall – first floor on Main Street
  • Starbucks Coffee at  1 West Boylston Street
  • Panera’s on West Boylston Street
  • Bagel Inn on Main Street in Holden
  • Jewish Community Center on Salisbury Street
  • Austin Liquor at Gold Star Blvd
  • Leader’s Way – Kung Fu Academy on Burncoat Street
  • Greendale YMCA
  • Main Street YMCA
  • RSVP and the Senior Center on Vernon Street
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital – at the entrance door on Summer Street
  • Annie’s Book Stop on James Street in Worcester
  • Headshop Hair Factory in Millbury
  • Summit Elder Care on Grafton Street

A list of organizations/businesses that are offering their own book drives to support the committee’s cause are listed here:

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Worcester Railers Hockey
  • UMass Medical and UMass Memorial
  • Fallon Health on Chestnut Street
  • Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Hanover Insurance
  • Harvard Pilgrim
  • UNUM Insurance
  • Wilson Language Training Center
  • Northboro Women’s Club
  • AFL/CIO LABOR
  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
  • Little leagues of Worcester
  • Webster Five Bank
  • Worcester Bravehearts Baseball
  • Worcester Public School High Schools – Burncoat High, Doherty High, North High, South High,  Claremont Academy, University Park Campus and Worcester Technical High.
  • Private Schools: Bancroft School, Holy Name High School, St. John’s High School, Notre Dame Academy, Worcester Academy and Venerini Academy
  • The following colleges and universities: WPI, Clark University, Holy Cross College, Becker College, Worcester State University, Anna Maria College, Assumption College, and Mass. College of Pharmacy, Salter College, and Quinsigamond Community College.

For more information you can call John or Anne-Marie Monfredo at 508 853-3444.