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May’s “First Sunday” collection will benefit Building Lives Through Reading (“BLTR”). After hearing from elementary teachers in the Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) that literacy is their greatest concern, a small group of friends established Building Lives Through Reading to give direct support “in our backyard.” This initiative is Des Moines-based and focused, purchasing books for students in the most impoverished elementary schools by working with DMPS. (DMPS has the buying
power and purchases books chosen for distribution.) BLTR distributed about 5,000 books this school year, nine books per student in grades K-5 at Edmunds and grades K-2 at Capitol View (which has more students than Edmunds). Our First Sunday donations would go directly to purchase books chosen by teachers and librarians. BLTR wants to add 2 more schools in the DMPS system next year and include the upper grades of Capitol View.

BLTR has identified data on poverty and literacy, diversity and literacy, and crime and literacy affecting our DMPS. They report that children of poverty have lower literacy rates, more than one in five DMPS students are learning English as a second language, and a 1% increase in graduation rate of male students saves $1.4 billion on the national level and decreases the rate of violent crimes.
For more information on BLTR, visit https://www.facebook.com/BuildingLivesthroughReadingDM.
Checks should be placed in the May 5 collection basket or mailed to: DMIEC, P.O. Box 30065, Des Moines, IA 50310 Write checks either to “Des Moines Public Schools” with “Building Lives Through Reading” in the memo line, or to “DMIEC” with “First Sunday” in the memo line. First Sunday checks must be received by DMIEC by May 20th; if you elect to contribute to the First Sunday recipient after that date, please mail your check (made payable with “DMIEC” in the memo line) directly to the organization at 3775 E.P. True Pkwy, Suite 162, West Des Moines, IA 50265 and, if comfortable, let DMIEC’s Social Justice Committee Chair Kathy Eastman know the amount to assist in recording our community’s giving. If you have questions about how to donate or would like to donate using the ACH withdrawal feature, please contact Susan Barnes (checks) or Jeanine Freeman (ACH) of the Finance Committee. (Info about ACH is available here.) Thank you for your support!

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