Inmates sort and pack 25,000 donated children’s books

Items will go to early-childhood program and elementary classrooms

Inmates at the minimum-security unit at Mission Institution recently helped to sort

Inmates at the minimum-security unit at Mission Institution recently helped to sort

Fraser Valley children will have the gift of reading thanks to inmates in the minimum-security unit at Mission Institution.

The inmates have helped sort, count and pack nearly 25,000 children’s books.

The gently used books were donated to Discover Books via the blue metal bins placed in parking lots in several communities, including Abbotsford.

The donations are sorted by the company’s employees into adult and children genres, but need to be further examined for age group and condition.

For the past five years, Discover Books has donated the books to early-childhood programs and elementary classrooms so that children have access to them to help learn to read.

Two years ago, Discover Books’ business model changed, and they could not do the detailed sorting and boxing of the books.

Rather than lose the opportunity to get these books into classrooms and the hands of children, United Way partnered with Correctional Service Canada to get help.

“Without the support of Correctional Service Canada and the inmates who participated in the sorting and boxing up of the books, we would not have been able to make this happen,” said Denise Finch, market manager for Discover Books.

“This is a very time-consuming process. We can’t thank them enough for their support and look forward to the next round of sorting in the new year.”