LOCAL LOOKOUT: Local Columbia teacher collects donated books for students

5 months 2 days 13 hours ago Sunday, April 19 2020 Apr 19, 2020 Sunday, April 19, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT April 19, 2020 in News
By: Peyton Headlee, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA — Some Columbia elementary schoolers could be getting free books next week. 

Kristen Ventrillo teaches third grade at New Haven Elementary School and wanted to help students that didn’t have access to new books.

“A lot of our kids typically get new books in the library every week and that’s kind of one of their main sources for accessing books,” Ventrillo said. “So I just was like oh my gosh what can we do to help them? There’s no public library open and they can’t get them at school.”

Ventrillo sent out a post on Facebook asking for any picture or chapter books the community would be willing to donate. She said she didn’t expect such a huge response.

“Within probably the first 24 hours of putting it on there, I had the entire back of my SUV packed full with boxes and books,” Ventrillo said. 

Sarah Kohnle is the managing editor for the Missouri State Teachers Association and said she saw the Facebook post as an opportunity to provide books for kids who may not have access to anything online. She said she donated about four boxes of books. 

“I would hope that getting a fresh book in their hands just would just inspire them to want to continue learning and maybe just to give them a sense of normalcy in these unusual times,” Kohnle said. 

Kohnle said she admires the work Kristen is putting in to get students new books. 

“Our teachers are just working so hard right now to make it, I can’t even say the word normal, but just to help their kids and their families,” she said. 

Ventrillo estimated that she has about 500 books to give away. She said she hopes the students are excited.

“I know they love to go to the library and to be able to pick out books,” she said. “So I’m hoping this will bring them just as much joy and excitement.” 

Ventrillo said she still has more book pickups scheduled. She said she hopes to be able to pass out books starting Monday at New Haven’s lunch pick up.

“I have so many books and so I am going to be kind of sharing them amongst all the grade levels,” she said. “Whoever wants some books, I will get them books.”

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