In December, Girl Scouts in Tanasi Councils 16-county region invited the public to join them in donating books to children, libraries and other organizations.
Most of the books are distributed directly to children through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program. In fact, Marines say they depend on Girl Scouts for books to be included in packages of Christmas toys and treats for children.
After a record-breaking year of collecting more than 5,000 books, Tanasi Council Girl Scouts have received the United States Marine Corps Reserves Commanders Award for outstanding achievement in support of the 2006 Toys for Tots Program.
"These generous contributions have enabled us to help fulfill the Christmas dreams of our nations neediest children," says Dennis McCarthy, Commanding General of the Marine Forces Reserve.
Girl Scouts credit a portion of their success to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. For the second year, he was spokesperson for "Reading Rocks," taping announcements for WBIR-TV, Channel 10.
"Reading Rocks is a gift to East Tennessee," says Alexander. "Because of Girl Scout efforts, many more children experience the thrill of receiving brand-new books that will develop or deepen their love of reading."
"We set a new record for book collections this year," says Lise Bender, program manager for Tanasi Council. "Our girls are looking forward to even more success next year with the help of the general public and special friends, such as Sen. Alexander."