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Summer reading participants log thousands of hours, raise funding for area nonprofits

HOUGHTON — The Portage Lake District Library’s (PLDL) summer reading program, Read for Relief, wrapped up on Saturday, Sept. 5 and saw community members log more than 7,000 hours of reading over the course of the 10-week program.

“It’s been so exciting to see our community engage in summer reading over the last several months,” Said Library Director Dillon Geshel. “By the end of the program, participants recorded 7,603 reading hours, and contributed $4,812 to our libraries.”

This year, Summer Reading Program participants included students and adults from Houghton, Hancock, Baraga, Chassell, Dollar Bay, Stanton and South Range. Participants logged their reading using an online application and paper log forms made available at PLDL and the Hancock School Public Library.

Through a collaboration with the Portage Health Foundation (PHF), Read for Relief engaged community members in summer reading while also helping the local nonprofit community heal from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will award funds to area nonprofits thanks to a challenge grant provided by PHF.

“Based on the funds raised for both PLDL and the Hancock Library during this program, the Portage Health Foundation will be providing a match to our selected Read for Relief non profits,” said Geshel. “Dial Help, Keweenaw Family Resource Center and U.P. Kids will each receive checks in the amount of $1,604.”

Read for Relief participants received prizes and incentives as they reached different reading benchmarks throughout the program. Prizes this year included a free book and a $5 voucher to the Downtown Houghton Farmer’s Market.

Additional funding was provided by PHF to purchase prizes for the program’s three top readers. The three participants who logged the most reading received a new kayak, paddle and life jacket to honor their hard work over the summer.

For information about additional programs, resources and reading programs at the Portage Lake District Library and the Hancock School Public Library, visit www.pldl.org.

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