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The J. M. Smucker Co. and Akron Children’s Hospital announce gift to continue the hospital’s child literacy efforts

02-14-2019 (Akron, Ohio )

The J. M. Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM) and Akron Children’s announced today a multi-year partnership to continue the hospital’s child literacy efforts. Smucker is committing $500,000 to support the Reach Out and Read program at each of Akron Children’s’s 28 pediatric care locations.

“We’re so grateful to The J.M. Smucker Co. for its generous support of our Reach Out and Read program for the next five years,” said Grace Wakulchik, Akron Children’s President and CEO. ”Since 2003, we’ve put thousands of new books in the hands of young children at their annual well-child visits through this program. We know that this early intervention is crucial in preparing our children for success in school and beyond.”

More than a third of American children start kindergarten without the skills necessary to succeed in school. The Reach Out and Read program provides children a foundation for literacy success by incorporating books into their doctor’s visits and encouraging families to read aloud together. As part of the program, each child ages 6 months to 5 years old who comes in for their annual well check-up at an Akron Children’s facility receives a book to take home.  In 2018, more than 60,000 new, developmentally appropriate books were distributed to children at their Akron Children’s well visits. The gift from Smucker will go toward the purchase of new books for patients.

The impact of the program is what inspired Smucker to pledge its support for the next several years.

We are committed to serving families with a passion for supporting children and promoting education,” said Jill Penrose, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Communications for The J. M. Smucker Co. “We understand the importance of reading to early childhood development and are thrilled to be working with Akron Children’s to enrich the lives of children in Northeast Ohio through our investment in the Reach Out and Read program.”


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