Creative collaboration puts books in hands of rural Alaska children

First Book Rural AlaskaFundraising during economic downturns can be very challenging, but as First Book Rural Alaska advisory board mentor and chair of the Anchorage board, Karen Jenkins, discovered, approaching the right partner with the right pitch is a recipe for success.

On March 5, 2009, First Book officially launched the “Feeding Hungry Minds” campaign, a month-long portion-of-proceeds partnership with Interbake Foods. Founded in 1899 in Richmond, Virginia, Interbake Foods is one of the largest and most established cookies and cracker manufacturers in the USA and baker of Alaska’s famous Sailor Boy Pilot Bread.*

From Feb. 28 – March 28, 2009, for every 2-pound box of Sailor Boy Pilot Bread shipped to their customers, Interbake Foods will contribute $0.50 to the First Book Advisory Boards throughout Alaska to be granted to community-based programs that distribute books to children who don’t otherwise have access.

“All we want to do is put books in the hands of kids,” said Jenkins.

First Book Rural Alaska is designed to support existing literacy programs in Southwestern, Interior, and Far North rural communities addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.

Since 1992, FIRST BOOK has provided more than 60 million new books to children in need in thousands of communities nationwide through more than 270 local Advisory Boards, the FIRST BOOK National Book Bank, and the FIRST BOOK Marketplace. Alaska has Advisory Boards in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Southeast (Ketchikan) and Rural Alaska.

All books distributed by First Book Advisory Boards are brand new and are provided at no cost to the child.

*Pilot Bread, also known as hardtack, is a long lasting cracker made of flour, water and salt. Approximately 94% of Sailor Boy Pilot Bread is sold in Alaska, particularly to Rural Alaskan customers. Sailor Boy Pilot Bread is sold at Costco, and stocked in most grocery stores.

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