Planet Ford of Spring has once again partnered with Spring ISD to support area students, providing a donation of hundreds of brand-new books given this week to students at Anderson Elementary School. The automotive dealership’s literacy-building initiative is part of a larger collaboration sponsored by Ford Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – and the nonprofit organization First Book.
“It means the world to us,” said Anderson principal Kristin Falcon. “It gives us an opportunity to not just have the kids exposed to books in their classrooms as an instructional tool, but to actually give them books to read for enjoyment, and to take that love of literacy home to share with their families.”
This week’s donation provided approximately $2,000 worth of brand-new, grade-appropriate books for all first-, second- and fifth-graders at Anderson – roughly 400 volumes in all – which the students can use in class and also take home to keep and share with their families and friends.
Planet Ford – a prominent area dealership for more than 20 years – has been a longtime partner with Spring ISD, sponsoring prize giveaways for district Teacher of the Year award winners, and in 2019 entering into a naming-rights agreement that helps support operations at the district’s Planet Ford Stadium and the adjacent Randall Reed Community Center, both built as part of Spring ISD’s 2016 bond program.
When the dealership began learning more about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on literacy and educational development, they joined forces with Ford Fund and First Book to help Title 1 schools combat pandemic learning losses. Planet Ford sponsored a book donation at Anderson last spring for select grades, followed up by this week’s donation to reach even more students.
“We believe in pouring back into our future, and these kids are our future,” said Planet Ford Community Relations Director Lauren Lothringer during her visit to Anderson on Wednesday to help hand out bags of books to students. “So any opportunity that we have to give back and really promote growth and learning, we’re all over it.”
Amanda Prieto, who teaches fifth grade at Anderson, said the book donation supports her everyday work as an educator.
“I love that it gets books in the hands of these kids, especially for some that may not have material to read at home,” Prieto said, “and hopefully it fosters a deeper love of learning and reading for them. That’s always my hope, is that they leave this classroom just a little bit more interested in reading than when they came.”
During the visit to Anderson, Lothringer told students about the importance of reading for success in both school and life, also sharing a proclamation from Planet Ford in honor of the importance of books and literacy.
“The partnership between Randall Reed’s Planet Ford and Spring ISD is long running, which is why it was a no-brainer when selecting Anderson Elementary,” Lothringer said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be returning again this year and blessing the Gators with more books!”