Foust Elementary School students have a new way to expand their love for reading — a book vending machine.
Independence Bank donated the vending machine to the school Wednesday, the second one the bank has donated to Owensboro Public Schools. The first one was donated to Estes Elementary School in August 2021.
Foust Elementary Family Resource and Youth Services Center coordinator Jen Hester said the school was excited to partner with Independence Bank to do something for the students to enjoy.
“Students will earn coins for the book vending machine by going up in levels of reading for our K-2 students that aren’t yet on AR,” Hester said. “Our 3-5 students, as they earn more and more AR points, they will earn coins to use in the vending machine.”
Hester said the book vending machine conversation began with her and Susanne Story, community enrichment officer for Independence Bank, talking about things that would benefit students and their families.
“A lot of our families would like to build their literacy libraries at home, but it’s hard because books are expensive,” she said. “As we were talking, we realized that Independence Bank could help us get the book vending machine, which would give every student in our school an opportunity to get their own book to take home and read with their families.”
Fourth-grader Mason Morrison said the vending machine is “really cool,” and he likes the lighting on the inside.
“I like to read a lot of ‘I Survived’ books,” he said. “I think I’ll use it once or twice a week. It’s not like an average vending machine.”
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Mason’s mother, Sarah, said Mason loves to read.
“When you walk through this school, you absolutely feel something special,” Story said. “It’s from the teacher and the staff down to the kids. We couldn’t wait to come here today.”
Story said the bank’s motto is “Here for Good,” and that’s why Independence Bank visited the school.
“We are a community bank, and we’re about giving back to our community,” said Nick Oller, Independence Bank Daviess County president. “When Mr. (Charles) Reid first created our bank, he had a vision for the bank. He wanted it to be different, to be able to give back to the community and increase the quality of life. Today is no exception for that.”
Foust partnered with David Roark from Jack Stacks, a local nonprofit, to find books to fill the machines. Jack Stacks is named after Roark’s son, Jack, who died from Osteosarcoma in July 2021. Roark and his wife, Holly, began the organization after Jack’s death.
“He was an avid reader, and he was in the hospital a lot going through all of his treatments,” Roark said. “We always said despite all the places he didn’t get to go, he did get to go to some amazing places because of books.”
Roark said he and his wife wanted to make sure students had books to read and to express how important it is.