A Northampton woman who is on a mission to help all children to love reading for pleasure has raised enough money to buy more than 150 books for underprivileged children this Christmas.
Kate McKenzie, who was a teacher for 15 years, began creating a business plan to focus on the benefits and enjoyment of reading for pleasure among children.
However the pandemic hit and put a hold on her business intentions.
Instead, and as a way to continue working towards her passion, Kate signed up to be a Usbourne Books home representative bookseller.
The mum-of-two was also keen to reach those who might not be able to access books and completed a fundraiser to supply children at Northampton General Hospital with single use, Covid-safe books earlier in the year.
This in turn gave her the inspiration for a wider fundraiser to supply more children with reading material this Christmas.
Kate said: “I wanted to do something that met my passion to get children reading and loving reading.
“It’s so important as the benefits for someone who reads can be significant.
“It can help mental health, develop vocabulary, help cognitive behaviour and encourage bonds with parents if they read together.
“The hospital told me Santa usually goes round on Christmas Eve to all the children with a gift, I was keen to get involved and donate books.
“I also wanted to look at a group of charities so I contacted the Hope Centre and the Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse service.”
Both charities and the hospital welcomed Kate’s Christmas idea and submitted how many books they needed to include all the children at the respective organisations.
The hospital asked for 30 books for children on the wards on Christmas Eve and the Hope Centre has 88 children who require weekly food parcels.
As well as the 23 children in refuge, the domestic abuse service also asked for a set of books for the new BAME refuge centre which is opening in the county.
In total, Kate needed to raise enough money for around 170 books, which she managed to do by raising £370.
The 38-year-old said: “I was so shocked that there were more than 80 children at The Hope Centre who are receiving weekly food parcels.
“I was heartbroken at the amount, but also thought ‘how am I going to raise enough for that many books?’
“I got going with the fundraising in September, it was hard going but we got there.
“I have fulfilled every single one of the book requests and every child is going to get a book this Christmas.
“I’m really pleased because it also fulfils my passion of getting books into the hands of kids who are underprivileged.
“And if it helps some children to enjoy reading and ask for another book, that would be amazing.”
As well as donating her own commission on the books and generosity from the public and customers, Kate also raised money by setting up the Duston Virtual Christmas Market, where traders paid £5 to enter, which went straight into the book fundraiser pot.
Kate now has all the books ready to deliver to the charities who will then hand them out to children in time for Christmas.
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper.