Today, The UPS Store and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation announced Margaret King as the winner of the second-annual Alferd Williams Literacy Award. This award, created as part of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, recognizes individuals who are dedicated to improving our nation's literacy rates.
In addition, to celebrate National Family Literacy Day, The UPS Store locations across the U.S. are kicking off their holiday donation drive for the Toys for Tots Literacy Program to help bring awareness to the issue of children's literacy and remind families of the importance of reading together.
King, a teacher of 27 years at Medford Elementary in Patchogue, N.Y., has inspired children to read both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to starting the Medford Book Mobile, King launched a literacy project called 'Literacy at the Laundromat,' where, through donations, she created a reading corner inside one of the local Laundromats to encourage children to read as they wait with their parents.
King was selected among four other finalists: Kirsten Bremer of Michigan; KK Cherney of Florida; Greg Ruiz of California, and Marla Standage of Missouri. All finalists were nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of judges, including representatives from The UPS Store, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Scholastic Inc. and the National Center for Family Literacy®. Visit www.scholastic.com/literacy to read King’s nomination as well as the entries of the four runners-up.
'I am incredibly honored,' said King of winning the award. 'Knowing what Alferd Williams has done for literacy, and then to be included alongside him in this achievement, is very humbling. I was inspired when I heard his story of fulfilling a promise to his mother to learn to read. Anyone can do this if Alferd could do it at the age of 70.'
The inaugural Alferd Williams Literacy Award was presented to its namesake in 2009. Williams rose to national attention when he enrolled in first grade at the age of 70 in order to pursue his dream of learning to read.
'Margaret King has demonstrated a commitment to literacy through creativity and sound teaching,' said Stuart Mathis, president of Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. (MBE), franchisor of The UPS Store. 'She is helping equip her students and other young members of her community with reading skills so they are able to compete academically and succeed in life.'
'Toys for Tots salutes Margaret King and the four Alferd Williams Literacy Award finalists for the work they're doing to combat illiteracy,' said LtGen. Pete Osman, USMC (Ret), president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. 'All are ordinary people doing extraordinary work on behalf of our nation's less-fortunate children.'
As the winner, King will receive a three-day, two-night trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend the U.S. Marine Corps Summer Parade in June 2011; $500 in printing, mailbox or shipping services from The UPS Store; and a set of engraved crystal bookends. She will also be able to designate $500 in books from Scholastic to a school or organization that serves less-fortunate children.
Through Dec. 31, participating The UPS Store locations will sell donation cards to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Every dollar donated helps put books into the hands of less-fortunate children in the local community.
Since the literacy program's inception in March 2008, The UPS Store network and its customers have raised nearly $1.5 million to purchase books for less-fortunate children around the nation, many of whom have limited access to resources in their schools and communities.
For more information or to donate, please visit www.ToysforTots.org/literacy
About The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Program
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not for profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Now in its 63rd year, Toys for Tots provides joy and a message of hope to less fortunate children through the gift of a new toy or book during the Christmas holiday season. Our gifts offer these children hope, recognition and a positive memory they will cherish for a lifetime. Many of the gifts we provide, such as books, games and sports equipment, make a significant contribution to the educational, social and recreational development of these children. In 2009, Marines distributed gifts to 7.4 million children in 691 communities nationwide. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation relies on individual donations from the American public as well as support from corporate sponsors. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.
About The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc.
With approximately 4,800 locations, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. network comprises the world’s largest franchise system of retail shipping, postal, document and business service centers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. In the United States and Puerto Rico, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of Mail Boxes Etc., Inc., a UPS subsidiary. In Canada, locations are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of master licensee MBEC Communications, L.P. For additional information, visit www.theupsstore.com.