A local nonprofit group gave elementary school children books on Monday.

The books came from I.C.A.R.E. through the I.C.A.R.E. That YOU Read program.

One child in each grade from pre-K to fifth at Westwood Elementary and Washington Elementary received one age-appropriate book each. School staff choose which children received books.

Susan Kamphaus, board member at I.C.A.R.E. said the group also plans to continue presenting the books to students in each elementary school in Junction City throughout the rest of the school year and during next school year.

Part of the organization’s purpose is to help make intergenerational connections, and Kamphaus said members hope the books they give to the children will provide another way for them to interact with family and give them a love for reading.

Montika Allen-Atkinson, board member, is working with Kamphaus to sort all the books the group has into categories for each grade level. Within each book will be an I.C.A.R.E. That YOU Read sticker and a bookmark. The group also honors the students by presenting the books to them at their schools.

Kamphaus said she and Allen-Atkinson are both former educators, so they try to come up with ideas to provide for students. When another board member, Donna Martinson, voiced the idea to provide books for children, Kamphaus and Allen-Atkinson took the idea and ran with it.

“There are a lot of children who struggle with reading,” she said. “Maybe they don’t have an interest in it, or people aren’t reading at home. Some people will read with technology, but the technology that kids use is more games than it is actual reading. We wanted to help students who come from families that maybe for whatever reason, don’t have books in their home. There is nothing like having a book in your hand. So, we decided that would be a great project for us.”

Vickie Bobbitt, executive director, said the organization has all the books it needs for the rest of this school year because of donations from Allen-Atkinson, but they will accept monetary donations to help them buy new hard-cover books for next year.

Bobbitt said she hopes the books will encourage kids to enjoy reading, since it is such a huge part of their education.

“Some kids really need tangible books in their hands, and we want them to enjoy the reading experience. These are books they can take home; it’s theirs, so it will enrich their intellect in reading.”

Kamphaus said members also will accept donations of new or like-new books for its goal next year. The group hopes to be able to present books to one girl and one boy in each grade up to fifth in all of the elementary schools next year, which will require double the number of books. She said new hard-cover books can range in price but are typically around $12-$15 per book.

I.C.A.R.E. received 24 donations for the project on Geary Community Match Day this year for a total of $3,975 after the 50% match. Bobbitt said everything the group earned through Match Day will be used to buy books for the project next year.

To donate for books for the upcoming year, people can call Vickie Bobbitt at 785-761-6278 or mail a check to I.C.A.R.E. at 701 W. 10th St., Junction City 66441, with the memo “to purchase books.”