BUFFALO, N.Y., July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- T.L. Cannon Companies, the franchisee for 60 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants across upstate New York and Connecticut, is teaming up with The Salvation Army to encourage children to 'give and get' an appetite for reading this summer through its "Summer Reading Challenge."
Kids and their parents who drop off a new book into The Salvation Army barrels at Applebee's restaurants in upstate New York and Connecticut receive a bookmark AND a special Applebee's Bookworm Club card featuring a free Oreo Cookie sundae coupon, redeemable on their next visit. Once kids 10 and under read and record 10 books on their Bookworm Club Card, they will also receive a free kid's meal.
The book drive runs through the months of July and August. The goal is to collect more than one ton of books in upstate New York and Connecticut and distribute more than 230,000 Bookworm Club Reading Cards through area library summer reading programs and at restaurants during the "Summer Reading Challenge" timeframe.
"At Applebee's, we view reading as fundamental for success," said Stephanie Griffin, director of marketing and public relations, T.L. Cannon Companies. "Through this book drive and our Bookworm Club Reading Program we hope to have kids embrace summer reading and share their love of books with those who are less fortunate."
In a report titled: "What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in American Schools," Renaissance Learning Inc. studied book-reading records for the 2010-2011 academic year. Their research found that among 2.6 million students in grades one through 12, 65 percent of eighth graders do not meet grade level expectations in reading. And the average reading level of teens in grades 9 through 12 is 5.3 -- barely above the fifth grade.
"Making books more accessible to individuals in our neighborhoods will help improve community literacy," said Major Thomas Applin of The Salvation Army. "Through this partnership with Applebee's, we're hoping to collect as many books as our collection barrels can hold. Our goal is simple—to make book ownership a reality for underprivileged children and adults so they learn to read, continue reading, and open their minds to a world of learning possibilities."
Applebee's locations across upstate New York and Connecticut will participate in the book drive, including: New York State-Williamsville, Niagara Falls, Amherst, Lockport, North Buffalo, Depew, Blasdell, Lakewood, Cheektowaga, Dunkirk, Olean, West Seneca, Gates, Pittsford, Irondequoit, Greece, Fairport, Webster, Batavia, Canandaigua, Geneseo, Hornell, Henrietta, DeWitt, North Syracuse, Liverpool, Watertown, Auburn, Camillus; Elmira, Vestal, Ithaca, Cortland, Painted Post, Binghamton, Johnstown, Rome, New Hartford, Oneonta, Herkimer, Utica, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Middletown, Brewster, Kingston, Queensbury, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Glenmont, Latham and Hudson; Connecticut- Plainville, Groton, Torrington, Orange, Willimantic, and Manchester.
Individuals who do not wish to donate a book but would like to participate in Applebee's Bookworm Club can find cards at participating schools and libraries across upstate New York and Connecticut. Parents can also download the card online at, www.tlcneighborhood.com. The Bookworm Club is a reading-focused reward program that encourages students to record the books they're reading on Bookworm Club cards. After reading 10 books, kids are rewarded with a free kid's meals, with the purchase of an adult entree.
To learn more about how Applebee's restaurants in upstate New York and Connecticut are supporting youth-based programs, visit www.tlcneighborhood.com. To view and subscribe to more news from Applebee's/T.L. Cannon, visit http://www.pitchfeed.com/tlcannonapplebees/9358.
About T.L. Cannon Companies
T.L. Cannon Companies is the franchisee for Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar in upstate NY and CT. It currently owns and operates 60 restaurant locations.