John Andretti literacy program announced

NASCAR Driver John Andretti Announces Major Literacy Initiative and Unveils the Cheerios Literacy No. 43 Dodge Intrepid ATLANTA-(Wednesday, March 6, 2002)-Today, Cheerios announced a national commitment to childhood literacy. NASCAR driver John...

NASCAR Driver John Andretti Announces Major Literacy Initiative and Unveils the Cheerios Literacy No. 43 Dodge Intrepid

ATLANTA-(Wednesday, March 6, 2002)-Today, Cheerios announced a national commitment to childhood literacy. NASCAR driver John Andretti appeared at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta to kick off a major book drive with Cheerios, Petty Enterprises and Kroger stores. The regional effort includes a major book donation to local charities, a book collection effort at Atlanta and Macon area Kroger stores, a free book offer on special-edition racing packages, and the Cheerios Literacy No. 43, which Andretti will drive in the Atlanta 500 this weekend.

Surrounded by children at an after-school celebration, Andretti unveiled the new No. 43 and read aloud to the children. He also announced that Cheerios and Petty Enterprises will donate 43 new books to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta and Macon for every lap the No. 43 completes in this Sunday's Atlanta 500. If Andretti completes all 325 laps, 13,975 new books will be donated to children in Atlanta and Macon areas. To ensure that the program reaches as many children as possible, a minimum donation of 7,500 new books will be made.

"Helping every child learn to read is a goal we should all strive to reach," Andretti said. "When children read books, it opens up a whole new world to them. As the father of three children, I understand the significance of encouraging them to read, and that's why I am especially proud to be involved with this initiative."

Atlanta and Macon area Kroger stores are also lending a hand in the literacy initiative. Now through March 16, book collection bins will be in more than 150 Kroger stores to help collect additional books for area children. Cheerios will donate a new book for every book donated by shoppers at Kroger stores, up to 7,000 books, to double the number of books children receive. All books collected will be distributed to local children's organizations.

"Literacy is a critical issue in our society," said Kroger's Randy Waters. "Yet it is so easy for people to make a meaningful impact by simply sharing a book with a child."

In addition to the book donation, over 28 million boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios will offer three award-winning children's books. The books, published by Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group, are free with two proofs of purchase and $1.25 for shipping and handling. The following Knopf Delacorte Dell titles are available:

· Frederick written and illustrated by Leo Lionni. A Caldecott Honor winning fable about a mouse who's a big dreamer; recommended for children up to six years old.

· Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. The first book in the award-winning series about a young sleuth; recommended for ages 5-9.

· Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. First published in March 1976, this ever-popular chapter book is still a favorite among kids ages 7-12.

In select Southeast markets, John Andretti is pictured reading with his family on special-edition packages featuring this offer.

As part of the program launch, Cheerios has donated $100,000 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy organization, and will donate an additional 15 cents to RIF for every book redeemed through the on-pack promotion (up to $150,000). With these donations, RIF will help get even more books into the hands of children across the country.

"A child can never have too many books and yet an alarming number of children don't even have one book to call their own," said Laura Daly, Cheerios marketing manager. "Cheerios is committed to putting more books into the hands of children. We're proud to offer these high-value, classic titles by three terrific authors and hope that our efforts will help to promote childhood literacy."

General Mills and its Cheerios and Betty Crocker brands are the primary sponsors of Petty Enterprises' No. 43 Dodge Intrepid R/T. Other General Mills brands to sponsor the No. 43 include Pillsbury, Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn and Hamburger Helper.

-gm/pe-

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About this article
Series Charity , NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti