During a fall family event at a pumpkin patch, Lehigh Valley Reads gave books to children who visited our table. After taking a book home and reading it to his son, a local father was inspired to pay it forward.
We were delightfully surprised to learn the father is Allentown resident Ian Riccaboni, host of Ring of Honor Wrestling
. ROH is a professional wrestling organization with shows on TV, and a HUGE fan base across the country. Ian decided to use his large platform to advocate for reading by collecting books for our campaign!
"As a father of two with a three-year old that is mesmerized by reading, my wife and I have seen the power books have firsthand to unlock the imagination and creativity of children", Ian said.
With the help of his co-host, Caprice Coleman, Ring of Honor, some wrestlers, and loyal fans, Ian rallied people to support our campaign using social media, and a live Ring of Honor event in Philadelphia on December 15, 2019.
Ian documented the weeks of encouraging fans to donate books through a web link, which allowed donors to send books to Ian's home if they couldn't attend the live event.
He promoted the book drive for weeks, to our entertainment and delight:
Ian and ROH fans donated hundreds
of books to Lehigh Valley Reads -- so many that we needed to buy additional shelving to store them. The books will be distributed to children and schools throughout the Lehigh Valley so those children can have a book of their own.
We are humbled and grateful for everyone who supports our mission, sometimes in the most unexpected ways, so that all children in the Lehigh Valley have the best opportunities to thrive.