OLATHE, Kan. — It’s been seven years since students here at Ridgeview Elementary School have been able to explore the book fair.

A big reason why they were able to this week: the Veterans United Foundation.

All students were able to select two books and when it came to check out time, the books were free; Veterans United is buying.

“To be able to get these books in the hands of these kids is incredibly powerful and it just makes you feel so good, you know?” school librarian Dawn Mercer said.

Mercer said more than 80% of their students are on the free and reduced lunch plan and thanks to a local church, almost all of them go home with a sack of food on Fridays.

That’s why she’s been searching for grants or sponsors to provide a free book fair.

“I just didn’t feel good about having a fair in here and asking parents and kids to bring money,” Mercer said. “They have more important things to spend their hard-earned dollars on.”

The goal is to create an opportunity for all kids to have books, while encouraging more reading among children.

To open a book, is to open the mind. The students get to take the books home and keep them forever.