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UPS Store Helps With Costs of Learning

Store presents $10,000 worth of books to local schools and learning centers.

Staff from the South Lakes UPS Store, Reston elementary schools and other community groups at the UPS Store Friday, Feb. 10 after owner Hal Berens presented $10,000 worth of books to Lake Anne, Terraset and Forest Edge Elementary Schools, as well as Reston Interfaith.

Staff from the South Lakes UPS Store, Reston elementary schools and other community groups at the UPS Store Friday, Feb. 10 after owner Hal Berens presented $10,000 worth of books to Lake Anne, Terraset and Forest Edge Elementary Schools, as well as Reston Interfaith. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— There were piles of extra packages around the UPS Store in the South Lakes Village Center Friday, Feb. 10. The stacked white boxes weren’t being shipped around the country, instead they were filled with books destined for local learning centers.

The store helped collect $10,000 worth of Scholastic books through the Toys For Tots Literacy Program, which were distributed to Terraset, Lake Anne and Forest Edge Elementary Schools as well as Reston Interfaith. This is the fifth year of the program, which has collected more than $25,000 worth of books for local schools.

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From right, South Lakes UPS Store owner Hal Berens hands books collected through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program to Lake Anne Elementary School Principal Brendan Meuney Friday, Feb. 10.

"We’re doing this because reading is a fundamental need, and it needs to start at the elementary school level," said Hal Berens, owner of the UPS Store, which served as the distribution center. "The key is to get the books and get them into schools where they can be used."

Ellen Curry, principal of Terraset Elementary, says the school has been lucky enough to be a recipient of the program since it began at the UPS Store.

"It’s always very rewarding this time of year when you give out the books and see the smiles on the students’ faces and knowing that many of them don’t have access to books of their own at home," she said.

Abby Kimble of Reston Interfaith, said the books they received will help children in need.

"Reston Interfaith serves a lot of children dealing with homelessness transitional housing," she said. "Having a few books to call their own brings a sense of joy to them that a lot of us take for granted."

School Board representative Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill) said these kinds of fundraising efforts are essential these days.

"This kind of partnership is critical in tight budget times, and things are tight for everyone now, which isn’t easy for the kids," she said. "We’re always trying to put additional focus on early literacy, and this helps us do it."

Berens gave a credit to his staff as well.

"We couldn’t do anything without the staff here, they’re the ones out there, asking for donations and making it work," he said.