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7Everyday Hero Jim White ensures all kids have a book of their own

Giving underserved kids the gift of reading
Posted at 12:23 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 14:38:27-04

DENVER -- There is a certain nostalgia that comes with an old book – one that nobody understands more than book worm Jim White.

"All the golden books are in here that I grew up with: The Hardy Boys, [Laura] Ingalls Wilder, the Boxcar Children. I see all the books that I read or my daughters read as they were growing up," White said.

Each week you will find White at the ARC Recycle warehouse sorting through mountains of books all to make sure Colorado's underserved kids have a book to call their own.

"If I could get to one group of children, it would be that group that are on the free-lunch program to give them a book," White said.

During his time working for Volunteers of America, White noticed thousands of books at ARC Thrift Stores sitting on the shelves, unsold and headed for recycling. He approached ARC and asked them instead to donate the books to his cause. Together, with Food Bank of the Rockies, he began adding a book to "Totes of Hope," which provides backpacks filled with food to kids in need. That's when Books and a Bite was born.

"These kids who open up a backpack of food for the weekend and get, perhaps, their very first book of their own – it's very special," said Maggie Scivicque, director of marketing for arc Thrift Stores.

In a year since launching Books and a Bite, White has given away 39,544 books.

"For kids who might not have a lot of that to begin with, unfortunately, I think it gives them an extra amount of pride," said Zachary Kellerman of Food Bank of the Rockies.

For White, it's a small gesture that he hopes will have a big impact on our Colorado kids.

"In life, if you're not a reader, it doesn't bode well for you," White said. "This was just an easy thing and at the end of the week I do feel like, okay, I've made some kind of a difference."

Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.