Pizza Hut today rolled out a plan to help educators teach people to read across the globe with its new Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, a follow-up to its long-running BOOK IT! Program.
In a press release, the company said the campaign “will transform the lives of 100 million people over the course of 10 years by helping them become their best through literacy and reading.”
Pizza Hut will work with First Book, a nonprofit that supports equal access to education by providing new books and education resources to schools and programs that serve children in need. Funds raised for the project will provide educators with credits to the First Book Marketplace for selected schools and programs located near Pizza Hut restaurants, the company says. With the credits, educators can obtain needed books and other resources for free or at deeply reduced rates. First Book also features Open eBooks, a digital library with thousands of free eBooks available to anyone within its network.
“Nearly one billion people in the world cannot read this sentence,” said Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut, U.S. “Literacy and reading are bridges to opportunity, and at Pizza Hut, we believe that providing access to literacy and reading resources will help people thrive, creating more prosperous economies and communities.”
Pizza Hut and First Book kicked off the program on September 8, International Literacy Day, with TV star Rico Rodriguez of Modern Family, putting books in the hands of 100 2nd and 3rd graders at PS30, a public elementary school in East Harlem. Pizza Hut will turn to customers to help raise funds year-round for the project, soliciting in-store and online donations “that will be designated to build literacy in their communities,” the press release states.
Additionally, to bring the project to life, Pizza Hut produced a video, “A World Without Words,” to demonstrate the need to improve literacy on a global scale.
“The teachers we serve tell us that when a child discovers a love of reading, not only do they unlock their potential, but ultimately the community benefits,” said Kyle Zimmer, co-founder, president and CEO of First Book. “But too many low-income communities simply don’t have the resources to provide children with access to books, and teachers in these classrooms and programs often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money to try to provide what students need. Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project will unlock the potential of millions of underserved children and communities.”