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Collingswood fifth grader collects more than 2,000 books for Children’s Regional Hospital


Pictured L to R: Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO, The Cooper Foundation; Corine Williams, Dakota’s mother; Cole Williams, Dakota’s brother; Dakota Williams; Dean Williams, Dakota’s father; Danielle Zarnosky, Event Coordinator, The Cooper Foundation.

CAMDEN, N.J. – Dakota Williams, an 11-year-old fifth grader at Tatem Elementary in Collingswood, and his family stopped by Cooper University Health Care on Wednesday to bring more than 2,000 books he collected for The Cooper Foundation’s Love to Read Book Drive.

It all started with a “pay it forward” assignment that Dakota was given at school. The students were asked to take on a project that would make the world a better place. Dakota decided that he wanted to give back to Cooper because his brother, Cole, 15, recently was a patient at Cooper’s Emergency Department.

When Dakota was waiting to see his brother, he noticed that there were many children in the waiting room but not enough books for them to read. He decided that he wanted to change that.

“Everybody should be able to read,” said Dakota. “I wanted to help them to be able to do that.”

During the month of February, Dakota, along with some help from his mother, Corine, his father, Dean, and his brother, Cole, collected books from family, friends, classmates, and neighbors. In all, Dakota collected more than 2,000 books for the drive.

“I just think this whole thing is awesome,” said Dean Williams, Dakota’s father.

Dakota says he would like to continue to collect books throughout the year and make this an ongoing project.

“We are very proud of him and more than happy to help,” said Corine Williams, Dakota’s mother.

The books from the Love to Read Book Drive will help inspire, entertain and heal children at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper. More than 3,250 books were donated during this year’s drive, which takes place during the month of February.

To see pictures from Dakota’s book donation, click here.

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