GLENDALE, Calif., March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --To help kick-off National Reading Month, actress Kate Beckinsale has teamed up with "The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program" to raise awareness about the importance of children's literacy. Today, she visited Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles to read to young children and their families, and to talk about her love of reading. "The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program" is donating up to $250,000 to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) - the nation's largest nonprofit children's literacy organization - and consumers can help through everyday purchases of select Nestle confections.
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"As a mom and a big reader, I am excited to be participating in 'The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program' to benefit Reading Is Fundamental," said Kate Beckinsale. "Reading has had an enormous, positive impact on my life and I encourage people to support organizations such as RIF that work to ignite a child's hunger for knowledge and inspire imagination. I can't think of a better time than National Reading Month to encourage everyone to read."
RIF provides books and literacy resources to more than four million children nationwide each year, but government budget cuts and the economic downturn have taken their toll on the invaluable services the organization provides. RIF lost its federal funding in the last budget cycle and is now awaiting word on whether funding will be rewarded through a new grant process.
The loss of federal support would have a critical impact on children and families nationwide. Now more than ever, it is important to give back to programs that are dedicated to supporting underserved children and their families.
In 2011, RIF provided more than 15 million books to children to keep as their own, but poverty levels have hit a record high of 46 million and there are millions more children who are still in need of literary resources. Studies show that:
- Poverty is the single best predictor of a child's failure to achieve in school, and about half of children from low-income communities start first grade up to two years behind their peers
- 61% of low-income families in the U.S. have no books in their homes
- 80% of preschools and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children
- 23% of public school fourth graders score below basic levels on reading exams. Increasing access to print material is the most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children
- 45% of children ages 3-5 do not and are not read to daily. Studies show that children whose parents read to them become better readers and perform better in school
As a company, Nestle USA has a long standing history of supporting programs that benefit education and has a corporate culture that values giving back to the community. For nearly 20 years, Nestle has supported RIF by donating more than $5 million, which has helped hundreds of thousands of children to date.
How "The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program" Works
Through this program, consumers can help a child receive a new book every time they open a variety of specially marked packages of NESTLE® candy - including NESTLE® CRUNCH®, BUTTERFINGER®, BABY RUTH®, 100 GRAND®, BUTTERFINGER CRISP®, WONKA® LAFFY TAFFY®, WONKA® NERDS®, WONKA® SWEETARTS® and WONKA® MIXUPS®. Each time a consumer enters a valid promotion code found inside specially marked packages of Nestle & Wonka candy at the program's website www.CelebrationCorner.com/RIF, Nestle will donate $0.10 to RIF. They will also be entered into the current quarterly sweepstakes for a chance to win a Barnes & Noble Nook Color' and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. Specially marked Nestle packages are currently in stores nationwide. The current program will run from January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. During that time, Nestle will donate up to $250,000 to RIF- the more consumers participate, the more money will be donated.
"As we enter National Reading Month this March, Nestle reaffirms its dedication to RIF and the organization's continued commitment to children's literacy," Tricia Bowles, spokesperson, Nestle USA Confections & Snacks. "There are benefits to both consumers and RIF through 'The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program.' Consumers have a chance to make a real impact in children's lives on a daily basis."
Encourage Reading to Children
RIF offers a variety of resources for parents, educators and children to encourage reading - including activity calendars and booklists. Resources are also available by themes, such as nature and drama, so that children with a variety of interests can find an activity that appeals to them.
"Instilling a love of reading in our children should be an important focus for all of us as parents," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Reading to our children or motivating children to read when they are young sets up their future for success. Nestle's support to our organization allows us to educate parents on this important role and develop programs to support children's literacy."
The cost of illiteracy for businesses and taxpayers is estimated at $20 billion. RIF costs taxpayers only $0.08 per year to provide literacy resources to millions of children. RIF is a prime example of an effective and efficient public-private partnership that creates a return on federal investment, operating a program valued at $150 million in all 50 states and territories with only $25 million in federal support.
For more information about "The Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program" please visit the official website at www.CelebrationCorner.com/RIF.
Nestle USA Confections & Snacks
Tricia Bowles, 818.549.5817, email@example.com
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide for Nestle
Janel Steinberg, 310.248.6148, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Nestle USA
Named one of "The World's Most Admired Food Companies" in Fortune magazine for fourteen consecutive years, Nestle provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with LEAN CUISINE® to baking traditions with NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE®, Nestle USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that make good living possible. That's what "Nestle. Good Food, Good Life" is all about. Well-known Nestle USA brands include: NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE®, NESTLE® NESQUIK®, NESTLE® COFFEE-MATE®, STOUFFER'S®, LEAN CUISINE®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches, NESCAFE®, NESTLE® JUICY JUICE®, BUITONI®, DREYER'S/EDY'S®, NESTLE® CRUNCH®, NESTLE® BUTTERFINGER®, WONKA®, DIGIORNO®, TOMBSTONE® and CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® frozen pizza. Nestle USA, with 2011 sales of $10 billion, is part of Nestle S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland - the world's largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness - with 2011 sales of $94 billion. For product news and information, visit Nestleusa.com or NestleNewsroom.com.
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.rif.org.
SOURCE Nestle USA