City of Gainesville Launches Book Vending Machine Project

ARTICLE | Aug 5, 2016

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) is excited to announce the launch of a new program called the “Feed Your Brain” book vending machine. The vending machine features free, age-appropriate, new or gently-used books for children age three and older. The pilot vending machine for the project was installed at the Porters Community Center, which is located at 512 SW Second Ter., last Wednesday.

“Recreation staff learned about a similar program that was initiated in Washington, D.C., which aimed to serve underrepresented youth in the community by providing free books to increase reading skills,” said Shannon Keleher, recreation manager.

“When Kelly Jenson, one of our recreation aides, suggested the idea to other staff, it was contagious!” said Diane Latson-Harden, recreation leader. “The team set out to do the same in the Gainesville community.”

Alicia Antone, development and partnership program coordinator, took their idea to Ray Martignetti, the district general manager of Canteen Vending Corporation. He was immediately on board and donated a used vending machine for the project. Additionally, the staff at Canteen Vending Corp. launched a book drive in late 2015 that netted several hundred books for the pilot “Feed Your Brain” book vending machine project. The project goal is to have a book vending machine at three more centers in the coming months, which will be maintained by PRCA: Albert “Ray” Massey (Westside) Recreation Center, Clarence R. Kelly Community Center and Eastside Community Center.

For more information, please visit City of Gainesville, FL

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