TEQUESTA, Fla. — Reading can help set the stage for academic achievement, but in many low-income and underserved communities, families don't always have access to books.
Phyllis Choy is working to change that, and part of her home in Jupiter now looks like a small library.
"I do love doing this," Choy said, as she glanced over at her dining room.
Stacks of brand-new books are piled on top of the dining room table.
"I started with a goal of 200. Before I knew it, I was at 400, then I was at 600 and this morning I'm at 751," said Choy, with a big smile.
Everything from children's classics to young adult fiction.
"Judy Blume...I know my daughter read them all through high school," said Choy, as she started packing the books into boxes.
Choy is a realtor and commissioner with the Palm Beach County Housing Authority. While on the job in western Palm Beach County she saw there was a need.
"Every child should have access to books and that's not the case. It's so far for the children to get to a library, so rather than that we will take them to where the kids are, and they can take the books home," she said.
So Choy started a book drive. She has been organizing the effort, but her neighbors, co-workers and the community have helped provide the pages.
"People donated and gave me money and I went shopping, and then people have called and said how can I get them to you....I said Amazon!"
On Wednesday, Choy was sorting through the stacks, and she plans to deliver the books to children in the Glades.
"How often do you get this many books donated by so many friends that they don't even know," Choy said.
And with school ending soon in Palm Beach County, Choy is not only helping provide inspiration, but also something new for children to read this summer.
"So if I can bring a smile and everyone else that donated books can bring a smile, that's what we're going to do," Choy said.
Choy plans to deliver the books next week to the Boys & Girls Club in Belle Glade and the Bridges Family Center in Pahokee.
If you would like to buy or donate a brand-new book to help add to Choy's total, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop the books off at her office at Water Pointe Realty Group located at 393 Tequesta Drive in Tequesta.