BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thanks to the Maryland Book Bank, hundreds of kids now have a new selection of books to read while being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization turned what is normally its largest book collection day of the year into a book giveaway.

“What we’ve done is we’ve made it a distribution day because so many families are asking us for books right now,” said Mark Fiering with the Maryland Book Bank.

Modeling after the restaurant industry, families could place an order for a bag of books. The group picked out books based on the child’s age.

“It’s all contactless; we put it right in their trunk,” Fiering said. “So it’s pretty easy for us to do and were able to supply at least 10 books per child.”

In total, they’re giving out books to more than 400 kids, including avid reader Gregory Areford.

“You pick up a book and it takes you somewhere else,” the 15-year-old said.

Thanks to the Maryland Book Bank, he now has 10 more books in his library.

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“This is amazing,” Areford said. “I have no idea what I got. It was kind of like a random pick and I might find something that I didn’t know I would like.”

In a challenging time, the books give kids something else to do that’s educational.

“Parents are just really in need of something that makes their kids feel better,” Fiering said. “They’re continuing their homeschooling because they don’t have any choice, so they’re looking for something that suits them or something that keeps them engaged and continuing to learn.”

And those parents certainly do appreciate it

“This is awesome, it’s getting really tough with the library’s being closed because this one goes through books like that,” Tracy Lingo, a parent, said.

“Just to have an old-school opportunity to have a book in your hand, it’s really great,” Cassandra Thomas, another parent, added.

The Maryland Book Bank said they’re planning for the long-haul. They’d like to be able to continue doing things like this for at least the next six months.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher

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