Donated books go to students and teachers to promote reading.

The Pass-A-Book Program has been serving the community of young readers since Ruskin’s Heather Hindman launched the initiative to collect and donate books in 2016. Through community donations of children’s books, Hindman has been able to distribute over 4,500 books to schools, teachers and students in just eight years.

“As a former teacher, I had bins and bins of books in my garage. I loved them so much that I hated to part with them but finally decided they would be put to better use in the hands of children to love them,” said Hindman, who also attributes the program to her husband, who wanted the extra space in the garage.

After seeing the amount of community interest, Hindman turned the donation into a program that became an ongoing Bryan Hindman Electric Company service project. Since its inception, the Pass-A-Book Program has become a family, business and community effort as Hindman has watched her whole company get involved.

She works with her immediate family to distribute books but received help from her co-workers, Brandy Nelson, Christine Hannon, and community project coordinator Virginia Trotta.

Many of their electricians have helped carry and load heavy donation boxes, and her children help transport books to the donation sites as well.

“One amazing community member decided to set up a makeshift library for the children living in her apartment building and we were proud to be a part of that,” explained Hindman. “Our biggest event is the [Parents and Children Advance Together] yearly graduation, where the children and their siblings choose books to take home to read over the summer.”

The Pass-A-Book Program mostly donates K-2 picture books and chapter books for third through fifth graders, but it accepts all books for students. This year, it is specifically looking for more board books to give away.

While many of the donations come from families and thrift stores, the Pass-A-Book Program just received a huge donation of around 250 books from Collins Elementary School. These books were given to new teachers in Hillsborough County.

To donate books to the Pass-A-Book Program now, bring the picture/chapter books to 1517 U.S. Hwy. 41 S. in Ruskin. Later this year, the drop-off site will change to 10021 Carr Rd. in Riverview.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.