Families celebrate books at Roll & Read

The event was set to start at 10 a.m. on Aug. 3, but children and families eager to participate in Roll & Read began arriving 30 minutes early in the morning sunshine.

Families with as many as 75 children continued to flow into the Children’s Home Society of Washington’s South King County Family Resource Center until noon when the last group departed for downtown Kent.

Roll & Read has become an annual tradition in South King County where families walk or stroll through six locations in the heart of Kent and participate in reading activities featuring literary heroes Waldo and Pete the Cat and a scavenger hunt.

Other stops on the walk included Maggie’s on Meeker, Kent Public Library and Wells Fargo Bank where children participated in a financial education activity.

Thanks to Bimbo Bakeries USA’s support, children from kindergarten to fifth grade were able to pick up a free backpack and book at the family resource center after the walk. Preschoolers got to choose one free book and also received a cuddly teddy bear.

Book the Future, a student-run organization based in Seattle, collected the free books for the children.

Children and families were surprised on their return to the center with an appearance of the Mariner Moose who took a number of photos and handed out coloring books with his autograph.

Children also got to explore a fire truck, ambulance and rescue boat from Puget Sound Fire and play with various toys thanks to a donation from Lakeshore Learning.

An ice cream truck was the last spot on the activity list where children got to pick a treat and attempted to finish it before it melted in the warm weather.

Roll & Read would not have been possible without the many community and former and current staff volunteers who helped with the group walks and various stations around downtown Kent and at the family resource center.

Bimbo Bakeries USA’s dozen volunteers handed out backpacks and provided free bakery and bread products to families and Wells Fargo Bank volunteers hosted a stop on the walk. Kiwanis Club of the Valley provided a contribution and had members volunteer for the day.

Roll & Read wrapped around 1 p.m. with a small crowd left of families preparing to go to Seafair for the afternoon.

Janica Lockhart is the senior director of the President’s Office.