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PLAINWELL, Michigan—Cassandra Keator, a student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and a Student Ambassador of the non-profit organization Give More HUGS, recently collected more than 600 books.

“I collected books for about six weeks. I kept a collection bin at my place of work, which I was able to collect about half of my books there. The other half came from people on Facebook, parents of friends and local libraries,” Keator said “My goal was 500, as there are 500 students at the school, so my goal was exceeded my expectations. During the book exchange event, all students will come to school and get to take home a book of their choice. Give More HUGS provides a unique approach of students and teachers working together to help children have access to books and supplies.”

The donations will be given to students at Starr Elementary School in Plainswell on March 31 through a book exchange.

“All students at Starr will have the opportunity to select one book. We also encourage students to bring in books of their own that they may have already read or outgrown that they think other students might enjoy,” said Laurie Lanphear. “We want our students to be lifelong learners and readers. Books can take children to places they may never be able to visit in real life. We appreciate and are thankful for Cassandra Keator’s efforts to gather books for our students.”

Keator is seeking an associate’s degree in biology and is in the honors program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

“Through this project, I have learned how to reach out to businesses and individuals alike to share my story,” Keator said. “I have also learned better ways to go about hosting events and coordinating with the people. I’m excited for the rest of my journey with Give More HUGS to support our schools and communities.”

About Give More HUGS

The mission of the organization is to unite with giving souls to provide youth with the tools to inspire a love for learning, reading, and creativity. The vision is to empower youth to stand up for quality education for all. Visit for more information.

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