Reading Heart collects over 280,000 books in Fresno campaign

Fresno schoolgirl Danay Ferguson, 9
Fresno schoolgirl Danay Ferguson, 9 sflores@fresnobee.com

During a 24-hour book drive, Reading Heart in Fresno collected a world-record-setting 280,110 books, the organization said Saturday afternoon.

The nonprofit fell short of its goal of 500,000 books but surpassed the current record of 275,000, said Dwayne Ferguson, whose daughter, Danay, founded Reading Heart. “We just have to get it officially verified,” he said.

The donation drive was held at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno, with book drop-off locations in Lemoore, Fresno, Clovis, Biola, Sanger and other Valley cities. There were 272 volunteers for the event and the books filled around 300 bins, Ferguson said.

The drive started March 18 at 3 p.m. and ended Saturday. In addition to collecting new and used books from the public, Reading Heart took donations online, with Scholastic providing four new books for every $5 donated.

Books will be distributed to Fresno County schools, the Marjaree Mason Center, Valley Children’s Hospital, Friends of the Fresno County Public Library and other organizations.

The goal was to give every elementary student in Fresno County a book, Ferguson said.

Reading Heart was founded in 2014 by Danay, 9, of Fresno, to promote literacy in the Central Valley.

Razi Syed: 559-441-6679, @razisyed