AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Augusta Junior Players are known for putting on high quality performances.
Recently, they decided to use their latest show, “Matilda” to give back to the community.

“Matilda is all about the empowerment of reading, so the director, Roy Lewis, came to me and asked me about doing a book drive. So, we decided to do that,” said volunteer, Kyndra Allsup.

When parents first heard about the kids doing the book drive, they were more than happy to help them reach their goal.

“I was so excited to get rid of some of out books, because we have a lot of books. We collect them all and we know a lot of teachers and homeschoolers, so we had a good group to ask for donations,” said parent, Renee Rolle.

The original goal was to collect 200 books, but the Augusta Junior Players went above and beyond, collecting over 6,000 books.

“It makes me extremely proud of these kids. They have worked so hard, not just in perfecting what they wanted to do, as far as their show was concerned, but promoting change in the community by giving books to underprivileged children and making sure that kids who didn’t have access to reading had that access to a book,” said Allsup.

One of the Junior Players, Lilianna Miller-Loftin, collected an astounding 2,200 books.

“It makes me feel amazing because these kids that get books now feel the same joy that kids in the past and kids that got these books previously got to feel and they get this amazing joy for reading now that we had in the past, so it’s going to be amazing,” said Lilianna.

The Junior Players dropped the books off at a place where they’ll be put to good use: the Augusta University Literacy Center. They’ve been around for over thirty years, serving the people of the Augusta area to help them improve their reading skills.

When the kids showed up, the Literacy Center was overjoyed.

“I’m just filled with gratitude and amazement that the book drive took off like this and, as I mentioned before, I’m not surprised. I’ve come to see that level of generosity and goodwill in the area. So, obviously we are so pleased and we would’ve been happy with two hundred. We’re just over the moon with the thousands that we have now,” said Director of the Augusta University Literacy Center, Betsy Van Deusen.

Only seconds passed before the books were put to good use. Van Deusen was able to give a book to a young boy riding his bike in the area and he was more than happy to accept.