Christiana Care partners in Delaware’s first Truck of Books Family Festival

A tractor-trailer full of free books, from the classics to Star Wars, drew children, families, and teachers to Brandywine High School in Wilmington on Saturday, Dec. 17. Christiana Care and other local organizations partnered with the First Book Network and the state of Delaware to give away 40,000 books to families and teachers in the Truck of Books Family Festival, a First State Initiative.

Hundreds of volunteers helped sort and oversee distribution of the books to local educators and families, with selections including bilingual and multicultural choices, and books suitable for children and teens of all ages.

Registered educators were able to get up to 50 books for their classrooms and programs, and each child at the event received up to 10 books to take home.

Luisa Ortiz-Marquez, program manager, Christiana Care Community Health Outreach & Education, and outreach coordinator Xiangfen Gu, shared  health and wellness information with families at the event.“Thank you so much!” said Victoria Celli-Pala, a 5th grade teacher in Colonial School District. “I came first thing this morning and was able to get every single one of my 5th grade students a book for Christmas!”

Andrea Tinianow, Delaware director of Corporate and International Development, the primary organizer of the event, and Christiana Care’s Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Esq., chief health equity officer, attended the festival to help out and share in the fun.

“At Christiana Care Health System, we are committed to taking care of our neighbors and supporting the health of all members of our community,” Riveros said. “Part of caring for our children and adolescents and giving them healthy beginnings is our commitment to supporting reading and literacy — reading builds relationships, fosters learning and advances knowledge, understanding and opportunity. Thank you to the volunteers and organizers of this First Book First State event for giving Delaware’s children happy and healthy beginnings through reading.”

Christiana Care also took advantage of the event to deploy community outreach and education team members who were on hand to share health information. They gave away educational material on cancer screenings and talked about cancer prevention and programs that help people with colonoscopies, mammograms, lung screening, smoking cessation, health system navigation and Healthy Families.