Begin with Books launches fundraising campaign

Kouvarius Butler (center) signs up his two children, Tahlayjah Butler (left) and Kouvarius Butler Jr., for the Begin with Books program at the John Dart library.

A Charleston-based nonprofit that delivers free books to children is launching a fundraising campaign to expand its program to nearly 9,000 eligible children in North Charleston.

Begin with Books, an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, ships free books in the mail every month to the homes of roughly 2,600 infants and toddlers under the age of 5 across Charleston County.

On Thursday, Begin with Books will kick off the campaign with an event at the Lowcountry Graduate Center from 4:30 to 6 p.m. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and InterTech Group CEO Anita Zucker, among others, are scheduled to speak.

The organization has already received a $65,000 grant from the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust. It needs to raise another $65,000 to start enrolling North Charleston children in the program.

“We can’t wait for day one of kindergarten to start developing children’s brains,” said Begin with Books co-director Janet Segal. “Books wire up children’s brains for the development of the skills they need in order to learn.”

To date, Begin with Books has delivered more than 80,000 books to 4,400 children in 10 communities, including Adams Run, Awendaw, the Charleston peninsula, Edisto, Hollywood, Johns Island, McClellanville, Ravenel, Wadmalaw Island and part of West Ashley. The North Charleston expansion will mark its largest, Segal said.

You can donate online at beginwithbooks.org or mail checks to P.O. Box 183, Charleston, 29402.

Reach Deanna Pan at (843) 937-5764.