Jessica Mathews /

A local group has donated books and puzzles for holiday food boxes distributed throughout Livingston County.

The Livingston County United Way’s Women United was formed in 2019 to support children’s literacy. Over the last few years, the group has focused on building Reading Trails for the children in the community. This Holiday season, they got together and talked about how to get more books into the hands of kids.

Officials say it’s uncommon for families to list books on their Christmas wish list as clothing is a higher priority. Thus, the group decided to put a book into every holiday food box that Gleaners Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army of Livingston County distribute to families in the community - usually around 400.

The momentum became so great that they also decided to put puzzles into the holiday food boxes that go out to senior citizens. It was noted that many seniors may have challenges reading the book, but the puzzle will allow them a fun hands-on activity. Livingston County Catholic Charities sends out 200 holiday food boxes to local seniors and was said to be more than happy to let them add to their boxes.

The women involved in Women United say they recognize that many churches and organizations provide holiday supports such as food, toys, household items and more and they knew they couldn’t partner with them all this first year. They said they are very grateful to Gleaners, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities for allowing them to partner in this important work.