Deseret Book and LDS Humanitarian Services partner  to get books into the hands of children in developing nations.

Deseret Book Company and Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announce a new initiative designed to open opportunities to youth worldwide—Chapters of Hope.  This ongoing program is expected to raise funds to purchase and distribute globally tens of thousands of books to children, ages 6 to 18, who currently have little to no access to books.

“It is through books that dreams are ignited in the hearts and minds of children,” said Sheri Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book.  “Combining efforts with LDS Humanitarian Services and with the public who wish to participate in reaching out to these children, we will be giving books to youth that quite literally will change their lives.”

Limited access to books often results in a limited view of the world, and equally a low literacy rate and resulting poverty.  Chapters of Hope is designed to help break this cycle of poverty as well as expand the lives of these children through the pages of books. 

“I’ve met women and their children and families on nearly every continent. I’ve seen empty bookshelves in their homes and schools. I’ve seen how much they treasure owning even one book” said Dew.  “I also know from both observation and personal experience that books can literally change lives.”

Chapters of Hope is an initiative to get new educational-type books into the hands of children who need them; it is not a used-book donation program.  One-hundred percent of all donated funds will go toward the purchase of such books.  Deseret Book bears the cost of administering the program while LDS Humanitarian Services handles all book distribution.

Deseret Book will use the donated funds on an ongoing basis to buy selected books from national book publishers, such as Scholastic, Inc.; Paragon Press; Grolier Publishing; and Modern

Publishing.  LDS Humanitarian Services, understanding best the needs of the children to be served, has developed a list of books that will help children learn everything from values to important life skills, including early readers; instruction books on phonics, math, science and health; dictionaries; single-volume encyclopedias; and values-based novels.  In leveraging existing relationships with national publishers, Deseret Book will be able to purchase selected book titles for as little as $1, some slightly higher.    

“Our homes are often filled with good books, as are our public and school libraries,” said Rich McKenna, Director of LDS Humanitarian Services.  “This is not the case in the village of Hatcliff, Zimbabwe; the islands of the Pacific or many other places in the world.  The wonders of learning and imagination, through reading, are not available to many of God’s children.

“The gift of knowledge is a priceless, life-changing gift,” added McKenna.  “LDS Humanitarian Services is pleased to partner with Deseret Book and Chapters of Hope in providing the gift of learning to thousands of children worldwide.”

For nearly 140 years, Deseret Book has given to the communities in which it resides, and during the past decade alone, Deseret Book has given more than $10 million worth of books to elementary school libraries, largely in Utah. Chapters of Hope now extends the scope and reach of that influence globally.

“We believe in reading, because reading is the gateway to learning,” said Dew.  “It is also very clear that many others share this belief.  Although the program just launched, we have already received a few hundred donations, some quite significant.”  Chapters of Hope plans to make its first shipment of books in spring 2005.

Chapters of Hope donations are being accepted at Deseret Book locations, online at deseretbook.com/chaptersofhope, and via the company’s toll-free number at 1-800-453-4532.  Additional information about LDS Humanitarian Services can be found at humanitarianservices.org.

LDS Humanitarian Services, the humanitarian outreach program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assists millions of people in need around the world, offering hope and the potential for a life that transcends disease, poverty, and despair.  From 1985 through 2003 Humanitarian Services provided more than $643 million in total assistance to needy individuals in 154 countries.

Deseret Book Company, founded in 1866, is a leader in the publishing, distribution and retailing of religious books and music serving members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Deseret Book is committed to providing quality books and music that build faith, strengthen personal values, and offer practical advice to religious and non-religious alike. It now operates 40 full-line bookstores in the western half of the U.S., plus its Mormon Handicraft retail store.  For more information about Deseret Book Company, visit deseretbook.com.