ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Four local bookstores are launching a program that would give students receiving meals through a summer program free books. The Lunchbox Books program would also help the bookstores left struggling financially from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Book House, Market Block Books, Open Door Bookstore, and I Love Books will be making book donations to programs like the South End Children’s Cafe and Schenectady Community Ministries Summer Lunch Program.

Susan Novotny from The Book House, says the store moved to curbside and on-line sales but had to reach out with the other book stores to the public for help. Novotny, with local booksellers Janet Hutchison, and Melissa Steen decided it was important to also give back to the community.

“…this summer the need is particularly critical and many of the meals are now delivered to their homes. Coming out of a tough school year, keeping the kids engaged in fun summer reading is a challenge, but if each and every child were given new fun books with their lunch meal we could keep them reading til the start of the school year,” said Novotny.

Novotny said the goal of the program “is to make sure at-risk kids are supplied new books they can call their own, to read and share, and keep them reading throughout the summer.”

Those who want to contribute to the Lunchbox Book program should contact The Book House, Market Block Books, Open Door Bookstore, and I Love Books.