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Kindergarteners Raise $2,400 in Pickle Sales to Ship Schoolbooks to Africa


ST. PAUL, Minn., July 11 -- With rock stars like Bono, and the G-8 summit in Scotland getting headlines about the tremendous needs in Africa, this continent is in the news. And while some view the needs as too large to overcome, one group of schoolchildren decided to do their part to help out. A kindergarten class from George Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas learned first-hand from their teacher of the need for schoolbooks in Africa and took action. The kids decided that pickle sales in the school would be the best way to raise funds, and they were right. When they were finished they had raised $2,439.25 to defray the costs of shipping donated books to Africa. At fifty cents each, that’s a lot of pickles.

“I have had on my door a sign that says ’today’s line leader - - tomorrows world leader’ -- but I would say that these kids are world leaders right now,” said their teacher Karen Wiggins.

The elementary students of George School made their donation to St. Paul, Minnesota-based Books For Africa, a 501 c 3 charity that serves as the largest shipper of donated textbooks to the African continent. Since 1988, Books For Africa has shipped over 12 million textbooks to 24 African countries. Books For Africa ships donated primary, secondary, university-level, and community library books. Last year alone, 1.4 million books valued at over $13 million books were shipped. “The needs are so great in Africa that we could send twice as many books if we could get more shipping funds,” said Books For Africa Executive Director Pat Plonski. “I think this donation serves as a great example to adults everywhere that if kids can accomplish so much, so can adults.”

The funds raised by the George Elementary School students will fund the shipment of approximately one quarter of a 20-foot sea container -- approximately 6,250 books weighing in at almost four tons. And what of their teacher, Karen Wiggins? Wiggins is off to Tanzania, East Africa doing missionary work for the next several years near Lake Victoria.

More information about Books For Africa and a photo of the George Elementary School kindergarten class may be viewed at


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