April 09, 2020
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Give books, get ice cream: Bangor book drive returns

Ardeana Hamlin | BDN
Ardeana Hamlin | BDN
The Darling's Ice Cream for a Cause truck is seen in this Aug. 6, 2012, file photo.

Story time, a book signing and a book drive and ice cream will come together at The Briar Patch Book & Toy Store on Central Street in Bangor on Thursday for the third annual Children’s Book Drive to benefit Literacy Volunteers’ programs to help adults and families learn to read.

Gary Bellefleur, ice cream ambassador of Darling’s Ice Cream for a Cause, and Meredith Eaton, a member of the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, started the drive three years ago. The two wanted to encourage community involvement in the effort to promote and improve education and literacy in Greater Bangor.

This year, Darling’s Ice Cream for a Cause, the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and The Briar Patch have partnered for the event, which raised more than 1,100 books for children and teens last year.

New and gently used books for children and teens are collected to improve the literacy of Bangor for children and adults. The Literacy Volunteers of Bangor are looking to encourage the whole family to get involved with literacy, according to Eaton.

“Two out of three children who live in poverty don’t have books at home,” Eaton said. “We’re hoping to make sure that all families and homes haves books to improve education and literacy for the next generation.”

In addition to the book drive for new and gently used books, there will be a number of events at The Briar Patch on Thursday. Author and illustrator Russ Cox will be signing copies of his new book, “Faraway Friends,” giving drawing demos and reading from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There also will be other read-alongs by community members. The Darling’s Ice Cream Truck for a Cause will be giving away sweet treats, too.

For those who can’t make it Thursday, Darling’s locations in Bangor, Ellsworth, Augusta and Brewer will be collecting books until June 30.

“Many adults struggle with literacy, and we want to focus on adults with families to have a lasting effect on their children,” Eaton said.

This year, the goal is to collect 1,500 new or gently used children’s and teen’s books, including comic books and graphic novels.

The third annual Children’s Book Drive will be held at the Briar Patch store, 27 Central St., in downtown Bangor on 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25.


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated a quote by Eaton regarding children owning books at home. It’s been corrected.

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