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Montana Treasure: Lending a helping hand to get books in little hands

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THOMPSON FALLS -

Statistics from the Department of Education show that 61-percent of low-income families in America have no books in the home for their preschool children to read.

Preschool is a crucial time when reading development takes place.
 
At just 12 years old, Hattie Neesvig of Trout Creek is already fostering learning in her community.

Angela Marshall introduces us to this week's Montana Treasure.

******

Hattie Neesvig and her mother, Shana, scan the books at the Thompson Falls Public Schools library.

She quickly pulls one of her favorite childhood books off the shelf.

Hattie loves to read.

Hattie loves to learn.

It's these passions combined that led Hattie to create two years ago 'Bountiful Books.' 

"I collect books every year around Christmas time and I collect them for children five and under," Hattie Neesvig says.

Her mother, Shana, adds, "She has selected kids that are in need. So they go to the Women, Infant and Child group, and they distribute the books."

Not only does Hattie collect new or slightly-used books to give to children in need, but she also hand sews the bags in which they're distributed. 

"Every day after school, I would start sewing book bags that were large enough to fit at least two books inside of them."

Sewing more than 50 bags the first year… Recruiting Grandma to do the sewing the second…

"But the second year, a lot of kids were already aware of what was happening," Hattie goes on to say. "We got more books than last year, which is great." 

Collecting enough books last year to donate to 56 children…And the beginning of spring means the beginning of a new project for Hattie.

"I make jewelry and sell it. And 10% of profits goes to a charity. It makes me feel happy that I'm giving to my community, and every day, it's getting better and better."

Her commitment to her community even earned her 'The President's Volunteer Service Award' through the 'Prudential Spirit of Community Award.'  

"It just makes me happy, gosh, I'm going to cry," says Shana tearfully. "Because this is something that I know that everybody can do and should do, and to see her at this age start something, I don't ever see her in a position where she's not helping somebody."

Hattie Neesvig, lending a helping hand to put books in the hands of Montana's youth.

And this week's 'Montana Treasure.'

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If you're interested in donating fabric, bags or new, gently-used books to Hattie's cause, please call (406) 291-4198.
You can also check out Hattie's Facebook page, 'Handmade by Hattie,' to find out what charity will receive a donation from her jewelry sales.

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