BOLTON – A Bolton family gives back to the community by helping low-income children have better access to books.
Brothers Dante and Vince Snoonian, seventh and eighth graders respectively at Florence Sawyer School, are collecting books in English and Spanish to redistribute to those in need locally and elsewhere in Massachusetts.
They get help from their mother, Susan Unger, as well as their father and older twin sisters, who are in college.
“The Books & Bread project is a bookmobile that goes to different areas around Waltham to provide free books to children who may not be able to afford books or access books at their school. or their library, ”Vince said.
Children come to the bookmobile which is set up in various places and can take as many books as they want. Children of different ages use the service.
The boys first learned about the Books & Bread project from one of their football coaches, Chris Young, who founded the organization. He posted a video explaining what Books & Bread is all about and how he was looking to set up free reading stations in areas that need children’s books.
“Reading is really important and I love reading different types of books, especially historical fiction,” Dante said. “When I learned there was a link between book ownership and high school graduation rates, I was really surprised. I also learned that so many kids don’t own no books which is why I wanted to contribute to the Books & Bread project It means a lot to know that I have helped kids have books they can call their own.
They’ve been collecting books since August 2020 and plan to do so at least until the fall. The brothers have already collected over 2,800 pounds, with their very first batch totaling 1,700 pounds. According to Dante, “they took up most of our garage.”
So far, the family has delivered all of the books they’ve collected to Young’s house, where he parks the bookmobile in places like boys ‘and girls’ clubs, playgrounds, schools, and grocery stores.
“This spring, I plan to build a smaller portable unit to expand the Books & Bread project to Clinton and surrounding towns,” Dante said. “My sister has a lumber store, so we’re going to build a mobile library and take it to different places where we know children or families can come and get free books. “
The brothers receive donations of all types of books for children and young adults, fiction and non-fiction, from hardback and illustrated books to fantasy book series. They don’t accept any adult books because they focus on school-aged children.
Vince said there was a special need for books and bread during the pandemic – but the need existed before and will remain after.
“Libraries and schools closed, so children couldn’t get books like they normally would.” Said Vince. Also, not everyone can access a library or buy their own books, so being able to find free books in a playground or park is a great way to help more kids have their own. books. “
The family has lived in Bolton for 14 years.
“We love the feeling of small town community,” said mom Susan.
It is this sense of community in the city that pushed his sons to want to give back.
“A few years ago my dad got really sick and my mom was still in the hospital with him. Our community has helped me and my siblings a lot during this time, “said Dante.” After my father improved, we wanted to give back to the community in a way that was meaningful to us. Since my brother and I both love to read, we knew we wanted to get involved in the Books & Bread project to help more kids own books.
They also do other charitable activities in the area.
“We are also working with WHEAT in Clinton and the Worcester Fellowship to prepare and organize lunches and dinners. Sitting down and having a meal is really important, and we want to help as much as we can, ”Vince said.
“Volunteering makes me feel good,” Dante added.
Those wishing to donate books can email Susan at [email protected] and the family will come pick up the books. They also accept donations of Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards for the purchase of new books.