Santa gives the gift of reading all year long.

January 17, 2022

Santa gives the gift of reading all year long.

Throughout the holiday season, Read Early Read Often has partnered with Santa to bring free children’s books to Oceana County children and families.

At local Christmas tree lighting events, Santa meet and greets, and as gifts to go under the tree, free books were given out in November and December. For a third year, the villages of Shelby, New Era, Walkerville and the City of Hart have passed out books at their holiday ceremonies.

Santa visits locations to pass out book to kids as they share their wishes for the holidays. Children’s gift programs, such as Oceana Goodfellows and Mears United Methodist Church, received nearly 450 books to add to presents donated to families.

“We deliver presents to over 700 children throughout the County, adding high quality children’s books to the numerous gifts for the young ones, at no cost to us, is a win-win,” said Oceana Goodfellows Vice President Alex Katt. These holiday distributions alone, saw over 1,000 books placed into the hands of local children and families.

Read Early Read Often is celebrating its sixth year. Since its creation in 2016, as a leadership initiative of the Community Foundation for Oceana County, volunteers have worked hard to make children’s books and early literacy resources accessible and equitable across the county. Providing books and educational activities to the families of young children can encourage later academic excellence, as access to literacy resources is associated with higher education attainment. In the past five years, RERO has grown and flourished, providing over 27,000 books to Oceana kids.

By providing books to food pantries, libraries, social service agencies, and more, RERO is making books a toy box staple. Foundation officials sincerely thank all of the local distribution and funding partners that are the backbone of this successful program.

Read Early Read Often’s early literacy work group is always seeking volunteers to come around the table and discuss potential outreach and book distribution locations, help to box up books for local organizations or deliver them, and a variety of other opportunities. Donations of used children’s books are always appreciated and can be dropped off at the foundation’s Pentwater office. To get involved, reach out to CFOC Program Officer/RERO Coordinator Danielle Siegel at 231-869-3377 or email

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