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RIF Joins the United Way of NE Mississippi in Providing Critical Back to School Supplies to 4,000 Local Children

RIF Programs in Mississippi at Risk Due to Federal Funding Cut 

Tupelo, MS, July 30, 2011—Today at the Bancorp South Arena, Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, provided local children with free books as part of a program of the United Way of Northeast Mississippi to provide area children with essential supplies before the school year, including sensory screenings, immunizations and haircuts. With RIF’s federal funding cut, the local program is at risk, despite the clear need for the program to continue throughout Northeast Mississippi.


“Instilling a love of reading in children is critical for their continued success in school and life, and RIF has been inspiring children and families to become lifelong readers for nearly 45 years,” said Dr. Judy Cheatham, RIF’s Vice President of Literacy Services. “We must continue our work in communities, and RIF’s federal funding must be restored for that to happen. The Senate can act now, and ensure that millions of low-income children can get the support they need.”

Approximately 4,000 local Mississippi children who registered for the event received free books provided by Reading Is Fundamental. The organization stressed the necessity of books as an essential supply in the education of Mississippi youth and encouraged all of the attending students to read as often as possible.

In 2010, nearly 10,000 RIF volunteers across Mississippi distributed nearly 300,000 books to more than 85,000 children. The nearly 900 events to encourage literacy among children and families and the emphasis on book ownership are critical components in helping Mississippi’s most at-risk children achieve their full potential in school.

In March, RIF’s federal funding was cut without alternatives in place. With a clear need in Mississippi as well as nationwide, RIF looks to its future to build a funding base to maintain and expand the organization’s infrastructure so that it can reach all 13 million American children living in poverty.

About Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF)

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

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RIF Joins the United Way of NE Mississippi in Providing Critical Back to School Supplies to 4,000 Local Children