GROTON – Monogram Foods recently gave a big boost to a local group trying to give others a chance at a good book.
The private food company, which has an office in Wilmington, donated $3,000 to Up With Books last month through its Monogram Loves Kids Foundation.
Started in Groton and having office space in Maynard, Up With Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting literacy in communities by providing books to underprivileged children. The group was founded in 2015 by two longtime bookworms: twin sisters Ashley and Paige DeFreitas who, when they were merely sophomores at Austin Preparatory School in Reading, saw a need to be filled.
“We always grew up with a lot of books in our house but we kinda realized that not everyone has that,” Ashley said last month. “We thought maybe we could help someone less fortunate.”
“We had thousands of books in the home and the girls couldn’t grasp the idea of people not having books,” Kimberly DeFreitas, the sisters’ mother and president of the group, said. “They did a lot of community service and realized how many kids didn’t have books.”
With that, the DeFreitas sisters toured around local homeless shelters and food pantries to see who would welcome a booth offering books to the less-fortunate. Since its inception, Up With Books has given out over 40,000 books in Lawrence, Westford, Maynard and Lowell.
Paige mentioned that she and her sister keep busy over the summer with Every Summer Has a Story, where Up With Books packs book bags to give out to kids leaving school at the end of the year. Last summer, the group distributed over 850 books bags through the program.
Up With Books has 21 members that are all volunteers and the group was awarded 501(c)(3) status in 2016. Fundraising for the group is a year-round effort, applying for for grants and hosting an annual action.
Through all the work, Up With Books always receives thanks for their efforts.
“We get unbelievable gratitude when we meet people face-to-face,” Kimberly said. “Parents will come through and see certain books they used to read and, when they become grandparents, take them to their grandchildren. This is our way of making books available to them.”