Fundraiser benefits local book program for youth

ESCANABA – This Friday, hungry residents have an opportunity to improve childhood literacy in the area while enjoying good food during a brat and hot dog sale operated by the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative.

The brat and hot dog sale will take place at Elmer’s County Market between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday. Visitors to the brat stand will be able to purchase brats for $3, hot dogs for $2, and soft drinks for $1.

For those who cannot make it to the stand, DSGSC will deliver orders to businesses, organizations, or other groups who are order more than $25 worth of food. Pre-orders are being accepted, and groups interested in receiving delivery are asked to call (419) 320-5542 to place an order.

The money raised by the sale will be used to support a local Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, scheduled to begin this September. Families with children under the age of 5 can register their children in the program through DSGSC. Once registered, children will receive one age-appropriate book a month in the mail until their fifth birthday at no cost to the family.

“The Dolly Parton Imagination Library costs about $25 a year per child so we have to raise the funds in the community,” said Tara Weaver, DSGSC director. “You can’t buy a quality book for $2 and that’s what it boils down to cost-wise,” she added.

DSGSC is a state-funded initiative that creates a partnership of community leaders, healthcare professionals, human service agencies, charitable and faith-based organizations, educators, parents and business owners. The Collaborative evaluates data and develops strategic plans to support families with the goal of preparing children for kindergarten.

“It’s not just another project that people decided to do,” said Weaver of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

According to Weaver, childhood literacy is measured in the third grade, and third grade students in Delta and Schoolcraft counties are slightly below the state average.

The decision to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the area was made to help raise childhood literacy levels locally.

“It’s not just literacy. Once kids get enrolled in the program they get excited about getting the books,” noted Weaver, adding that the time spent reading with parents also promoted bonding.

While some may say that the promotion of literacy and bonding can be achieved using a local library, Weaver believes that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps to prepare children by giving them a collection of books they can access at any time.

“We absolutely promote the library. We love the library, but we realize that not everyone has access to the library. It’s about starting that library at home,” said Weaver.

More information about DSGSC can be found online at or by contacting Tara Weaver at 786-9300, ext. 109. Additional information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library can be found at