First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Hosts Thousands of Fourth-Graders for ‘Feed the Mind-Kentucky’ Literacy Celebration

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, April 16, 2014  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear today joined thousands of fourth-graders from across central Kentucky for the Second Annual “Feed the Mind – Kentucky” event to promote and celebrate childhood literacy throughout the Commonwealth. Students from 46schools in 17 counties attended today’s celebration.

“Literacy is the foundation for a child’s success both in school and later in life,” said Mrs. Beshear. “As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand the significant role reading can play in a child’s education and I am proud to be a part of this event to promote youth reading.”

This year’s celebration highlighted science-themed books in an effort to engage children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. The event featured motivational speakers and artists such as Andrés Ruzo from the National Geographic Explorers program and Kentucky storyteller Octavia Sexton. The ESPN Experience crew also returned this year to host and facilitate fun activities for the students and teachers.

Each student at the event received a free book sponsored by Arby’s Lexington Co-Op.

The Arby’s Foundation is donating an additional $25,000 to the participating schools for their weekend backpack programs. Schools typically offer weekend backpack programs for students who are fed during the week with the help of federal government programs. Sending these students home over the weekend with backpacks full of food helps ensure that they are staying nourished with nutritional foods while not in school.

“Arby’s is a strong supporter of national programs like Share Our Strength’s national ‘No Kid Hungry’ program,” said Reza Timaji, Lexington businessman and President of the Arby’s Lexington Co-op. “But we see the Feed the Mind – Kentucky event as an opportunity for those of us who live and work here, in Central Kentucky, to make a difference in our own backyard. Our regional owners and operators jumped at the chance to be involved.”

The cost of the event is offset by the distribution of special Arby’s coupon booklets created specifically for the celebration. For a donation of $5, Arby’s customers receive a variety of coupons and special offers worth over $20.

Other sponsors for today’s event include Sheehy, WLEX and Pepsi.

The Feed the Mind – Kentucky celebration is an extension of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development’s (CCLD) fourth annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration and it represents the evolution of a smaller annual event, ‘Read Pulaski County,’ that was started in 2011 by the Center for Rural Development, the non-profit Forward in the Fifth organization and local Somerset businessman Chuck Coldiron.