Carts of rain-splattered boxes brimming with boxes rolled out the door Saturday morning from a storefront in midtown Kansas City, bound for the hands of children who need them most.
Dozens of blue-shirted KPMG employees acted as “shopper” assistants for representatives of up to 100 schools and nonprofit organizations that serve low-income students or families.
“I knew I didn’t want to miss this,” said Catina Taylor, an educator who’s launching a new Dream KC school this year in southeast Kansas City, as she chose books suited for her first students.
Pre-registered representatives were allowed to choose up to 100 books each from among stacks of books — about 10,000 in all — to fill their allotted boxes.
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The event, part of the accounting firm’s Family for Literacy “Read to Succeed” initiative, was held in partnership with First Book, a national nonprofit network of educators and program leaders that obtains new books through relationships with publishers.
“We are committed to providing books for children in need,” said Briana Haines, a KPMG senior associate and a lead organizer at the giveaway, where about 40 of her colleagues stacked books and hefted boxes.
Kiffle, KPMG’s costumed kangaroo mascot, was on hand, wearing an oversized black mustache. The accessory was a nod to the event’s featured guest, Bridget Heos, local author of a children’s book, Mustache Baby, who gave away signed copies of 300 books.
The event, billed as a mobile book fair, was staged in the former Soli Printing building at 3501 Broadway. The location also is used as a warehouse for the Kansas City’s Turn the Page KC literacy initiative, an effort to get the city’s children reading at grade level by third grade.
Mike Mollerus, a KPMG partner, led about one-fourth of the firm’s 300 Kansas City workers who volunteered to prepare for or participate in the book fair.
“One of our core values is to support the communities in which we work and live,” Mollerus said. “Improving the literacy rates of our children, we think is very important to having a successful community.”