Jan 24, 2013 10:00 AM
On Friday, March 1, thousands of fourth-graders from all over central Kentucky will gather in Rupp Arena for the inaugural Feed the Mind - Kentucky event to promote and celebrate reading and childhood literacy.
In addition to providing students with a healthy lunch and a free book to take home, the celebration will feature fun, motivational discussions with both a Kentucky children's author and First Lady Jane Beshear.
"Literacy is the foundation for a child's success both in school and later in life," Beshear said. "As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand the significant role reading can play in a child's education and I am proud to be a part of this event to promote youth readership for Kentucky children."
The Feed the Mind - Kentucky celebration represents the evolution of a smaller annual event. 'Read Pulaski County,' started in 2011 and was organized by the non-profit organization Forward in the Fifth, the Center for Rural Development and members of the business community in Somerset,
"At last year's event in Somerset, the First Lady challenged a group of regional business leaders to do what they could to help spread the word about childhood literacy in Kentucky," said Chuck Coldiron, an Arby's franchisee and member of the organizing team for both
events. "Within weeks, plans were made to develop a regional celebration and Feed the Mind - Kentucky was born."
"Arby's is a strong supporter of national programs like Share Our Strength's national 'No Kid Hungry' program," said Reza Timaji, Lexington businessman and President of the Arby's Lexington Co-op. "But we see the Feed the Mind - Kentucky event as an opportunity for
those of us who live and work here in central Kentucky, to make a difference in our own backyard. Our regional owners and operators jumped at the chance to be involved."
The Feed the Mind - Kentucky celebration will serve as the unofficial kick-off to the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development's third annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration Week scheduled for March 4-8, 2013. The cost of the event is being offset by the distribution of special Arby's coupon booklets created specifically for the celebration. For a donation of $5, Arby's customers will receive a variety of coupons and special offers worth over $20.
"We are thrilled to be a part of an event that celebrates the potential of the young people in our community," Timaji said. "The hope is we can take this celebration statewide in future years. But, our first priority is to make this first one as successful as it can possibly be."