Donated books

Helen Pugh, Ikeducation specialist with the Eisenhower Foundation, sorts through donated book to be distributed to area schools.

Students in Dickinson County will have plenty to read for “Read Across America” as over 6,500 books are being distributed free to students.

Through Feed the Children, the Eisenhower Foundation and the Abilene Rotary Club, those books will be delivered in Abilene Monday in special events with St. Andrew’s and Eisenhower elementary schools.

It’s also the birthday of famous children’s author Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, who most know as Dr. Seuss.

“The significant is just getting the books to the Dickinson County kids,” said Helen Pugh, Ikeducation specialist at the Eisenhower Foundation. “They are all beautiful hardcover books. They get to take them home.”

She said Mary Jean Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower, and Mike Meyer with the Overland Park Rotary are behind getting the books to Abilene.

They worked together with People to People.

President Eisenhower founded People to People in 1956. He recognized that the surest way to break cycles of fear and misunderstanding was for people to understand each other.

Meyer has a connection with Feed the Children which donates thousands of books to the Overland Park Rotary each year.

“He asked Mary Jean if she would be interested in some of the books,” Pugh said. “She said ‘absolutely.’”

Mary Jean is both a member of the Eisenhower Foundation and of the Abilene Rotary.

“So we decided, yep, let’s do it,” Pugh said.

That’s how it got started.


But a bunch of volunteers then got involved to get the books sorted and distributed.

Jesse Goodman, senior plant manager for Land Pride, arranged to have the books transported by semitrailer from Kansas City and he had them stored in the new Abilene West facility.

Then volunteers from the Abilene Rotary and foundation spent this week sorting through the books so the right books would not only get to the right schools, but also the right age of students.

“There are 14 titles,” Pugh said.

They were first sorted by grade level and were sorted by schools.

Mack Teasley who coordinated the Rotary volunteers said eight members spent this week sorting the books and started delivering some.

Originally 12 schools in Dickinson County were receiving books.

“Just today (Thursday) they took two loads to Junction City Middle School and Fort Riley Middle School so we reached out to another school district,” he said.

“They are very interesting,” Teasley said of the reading material.

“5 Minute Stories starring Minnie” (Mouse) is for the kids, all the way to Harry Potter and more adventure stories for the middle school aged kids,” he said.

He said some of the books were taken to Abilene High School.

Read Across America

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America on Monday, students from St. Andrew’s Elementary will visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library for a tour and program. Representatives of Feed the Children are expected to be on hand.

Mary Jean Eisenhower will be reading to students, there be a Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM) station and the station where they will get their books.

“There will be a lot going on,” she said.

Also Monday a program will be held at Eisenhower Elementary and books will be handed out in Solomon where the Eisenhower Foundation will be on hand.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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