United Way raising funds for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

United Way raising funds for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Brandon Summers Feb 10, 2021

Heartland United Way is raising funds this week for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

More than 3,100 children in the four-county area are enrolled.

Unites Way is asking for 3,000 people to each donate $30 this week to give the gift of books to kids in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick counties.

The online and local fundraiser ends Sunday.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program provides age-appropriate books to children starting at their birth and continuing to the child’s fifth birthday.

The books are sent via mail each month.

Plans for an in-person fundraising event were canceled last fall due to concerns raised by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the United Way decided on a virtual fundraiser this week, said Cammie Benson, director of community engagement.

“We thought of an idea during this Valentine’s week to ‘Share the Love’ and give a child the gift of books through this program,” Benson said.

Heartland United Way has had a local Imagination Library program since 2013.

“One of our core areas is education. What’s better to kick start early childhood literacy than the Imagination Library program?” Benson said.

“We did a lot of research and figured out that this is something we wanted to be involved in, and it’s been fun from the start.”

Kids and parents alike appreciate receiving the new books monthly, she said.

“We get a lot of feedback from parents that the children are so excited to go to the mailbox and get their books each month in the mail, and it has their personalized name on it,” Benson said. “It’s really cool because it also gives examples to the parents on how to read the books to the kids.

There are many ways to give a $30 valentine through Heartland United Way.

Gifts can be made this week by:

— Visiting heartlandunitedway.org and clicking Donate

— Visiting www.facebook.com/heartlandunitedway and clicking “For the Love of Books” under Fundraisers

— Texting GIVEHUW to 313131

— Stopping by the HUW office, 1441 N. Webb Road

“It’s easy to give and there’s a variety of options,” Benson said. “If someone’s not a fan of social media, they can stop by our office and we’ll be happy to help them.”

She said she was excited about the fundraiser.

“We’re getting a lot of support,” Benson said. “We live in a big community and we’re only asking for 3,000 people to help. I’m hoping we can get there.”

For more information, email Benson at cammie@heartlandunitedway.org.