There was once a time when one of the biggest things on the elementary school calendar was a semi-annual event when Scholastic Book Fairs came to town, and children had the chance to take a pick of the newest reads on the market. There was an excitement – getting ready to walk into a gymnasium or down a long hallway that had been stocked with books.

This year, while students from elementary school to college have worked diligently to make the most of remote learning, one aspect of students’ worlds that changed was that Scholastic Book Fairs had to shift the way that they support students across the country.

With that in mind, Charlotte FC and founding partner Ally determined that there was a way to give the gift of Scholastic by bringing the book fair to the students in a different way.

Between now and the end of the year, Charlotte FC and Ally will be hosting book pack donation events for students at four local elementary schools including Idlewild Elementary, Merry Oaks International Academy, Nations Ford Elementary and Renaissance West Community Initiative. A combination of drive-through events and classroom distributions will allow the club and their leading partner to donate free book packs to about 4,000 students in Pre-K through 5th grade.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ally to give back to the community,” said Meredith Starkey, interim team president of Charlotte FC. “It is especially gratifying to serve high-needs students in our community who may not have good opportunities to build their own home libraries, which is so important for young students in helping them develop critical reading skills and habits.” 

In partnership with Scholastic’s “Best of the Book Fair” program, each student will receive four new books for their grade level, a blue tote bag, an invisible ink pen and a bookmark.

“We are excited to collaborate with both Charlotte FC and Ally Bank to provide the “Best of the Book Fair” packs to students in select Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools,” said Roscoe Compton-Kelly, Territory Manager for Strategic Partnerships, Scholastic Book Fairs. “With children out of school for longer periods due to the COVID pandemic, reading loss and access to books have become an even greater challenges for communities. Through efforts such as this event, children are able to experience a sense of normalcy through the joy of books and reading.”

Together, Charlotte FC and Ally are also contributing stickers for students to personalize each book, a bookmark that highlights the club’s manifesto, a purple Ally scarf and the Ally book Planet Zeee and the Money Tree, which helps educate children on the fundamentals of budgeting, smart saving and giving back to their communities.

Book Drive 2

“Ally’s book series, Adventures in Money, is included in these book packs as part of our commitment to improving financial education for children and families, because we believe gaining financial knowledge early contributes to future economic mobility and helps people live better lives,” said Natalie Brown, director, Corporate Citizenship at Ally. “Coming together with Charlotte FC to bring books to these communities where the need is so great is a fantastic way to help us celebrate our Giving Back Month this November.”

As Charlotte FC continues to build on the community initiatives that it will champion, the club identified early on that literacy was going to be a key area of focus. This fall, Ally became an integral part of the mission to help get books into the hands of children through this concerted effort.

This series of events in collaboration with Scholastic will allow more than 17,000 books to be added to the home libraries of the children in the Charlotte area, and as their own collection grows, the hope is that their excitement for reading prospers as well.