NewsSarasota, Manatee County


'Books and Badges' brings hundreds of books to kids in a low-income Sarasota community

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 18:23:48-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — On Wednesday, Sarasota police officers handed out hundreds of books to kids in a public housing community.

The "Books and Badges" event was hosted by the Sarasota Housing Authority and Sarasota Public Libraries.

"We’re really working hard to turn what is typically a book desert, where these families don’t have a lot of books available to them, into a book-rich environment," said William Russell with the Sarasota Housing Authority.

They say the purpose is not only to promote summer reading but to help break down trust walls between police and families residing in low-income neighborhoods.

"We want to build trust with them and let them know that if you see a police officer you can go to them for help. It’s really important that they can be able to approach us and feel safe talking to us," said Lt. Dwayne Shellhammer with the Sarasota Police Department.

Each child received a bag with several books for their reading level.