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Indian River County donates hundreds of books to Panhandle schools

Three district buses taking supplies to schools
Posted: 6:57 AM, Oct 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-26 10:57:44Z

Each week, two dozen kids gather to read outside the cafeteria at Vero Beach Elementary.

The students in this newly-formed book club were still giddy when asked how many books they each got to take home from a recent Scholastic Book Fair.

"Eleven," they shouted in response. 

The Indian River County School District took their love of reading and came up with an idea to help students in the Florida Panhandle impacted by Hurricane Michael who might not have books or even schools to attend.

Through Skype, we see boxes of books inside one of the district’s three mobile cafe buses now in Tallahassee.

“We’re not going to send food up there, because we don’t know how soon they’ll be used. So, what could we send up there that could help?" asked Indian River County Superintendent Mark Rendell.

On that Skype call, Rendell is talking with his Leon County counterpart.

“It’s just amazing the support coming from all different parts of the state to help those members of our state west of us that have suffered such horrible loss," said Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

Thousands of dollars were raised in Indian River County to buy books. 

“They (the kids) know how important literacy is and they want to make sure kids in the Panhandle get access to literature," said Vero Beach Elementary Principal Cindy Emerson.

From Tallahassee, the buses will be sent to Marianna, Blountstown and Port St. Joe.

“I thought wow, what a great thing if we could get books in the hands of these kids displaced by Hurricane Michael," said Rendell.