Book donation brings joy to children

Two representatives from the Better State Crew (BSC), a promotional sector of State Farm focussed on giving back and creating memorable experiences, drove across the country from Toronto to Fort McMurray. They arrived on Wednesday, August 3rd, and headed to the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club to donate a selection of brand new books.


Their main reason for choosing the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club was that they wanted to give back to Fort McMurray after the devastating fire and recent flooding. When they discovered via Facebook that all the books at the Boys and Girls Club had to be disposed of after the fire, they saw an opportunity to help.

“Giving back is a key aspect of this program”, said Darryl Coutinho, one of the Better State Crew representatives who came to present the books. “Fort McMurray was in the news for various reasons in the past few weeks/months. The wildfires and then the flooding were just catastrophic. The Better State Crew wanted to reach out and do something and came upon the Boys and Girls Club on Facebook.”


“A key need were books targeted to the grade 1 or 2 reading level,” said Coutinho. “After the fire, licensing required that all paper items (including books) be disposed of and it was a challenge to replace them. This is where the BSC decided to step in and make a difference, by getting these supplies.”

When the BSC arrived, the children came in from outside and the atmosphere was instantly elevated as they were presented with the books. The kids each grabbed one, almost instantaneously, and sat down to read and work on the activities that the books offered.

“Seeing the kids jump with joy and start reading the books right away was very emotional,” said Coutinho. “Overall, the array of happy emotions being projected by the kids was something that will always be remembered.”

One little girl in particular got so excited about a book on monkeys, stating that they were her favourite animal. She began flipping through the book, stopping on a page with a monkey hanging from a tree by its tail.

When I asked her about it she responded, “This one is my favourite.”

CAN BSC - 080316 - Boys and Girls Club Fort Mac  - Pic5

The children, each with a new book in hand, and the Better State Crew representatives all gathered for a commemorative picture and the happiness was apparent on the faces of everyone present.

“Seeing their surprised faces and eyes filled with joy and curiosity was amazing,” said Coutinho. “It’s moments like these that make the work of the BSC worthwhile and leaving children with these memories is extremely fulfilling.”


Author: Meaghan Szpak

Meaghan has earned her degree in Public Relations from Iowa State University and has returned to work with The United Way of Fort McMurray. Her interest in the social profit sector brought her to the United Way last summer when she worked as an intern. Although she has spent the last few years in the United States, Meaghan is not new to the community of Fort McMurray and considers it home. She is excited about interacting on a daily basis with the people and agencies who give back and help make her home community a better place. In her free time Meaghan loves taking road trips, exploring new places and hiking new trails, all with her husky by her side.