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DHS news release

April 26, 2004

Contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955
Program Contact: Linda Manning (503) 731-3147 x 2227

May brings annual "Books from the Heart" event for foster children

For the eighth year, two popular Portland businesses and a local TV station have partnered with the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) to bring new books to foster children.

Every May, McCormick and Schmick's restaurants, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and KOIN-TV sponsor the "Books from the Heart" project, which provides thousands of donated books to Portland-area foster children. Every donor will receive a $10 gift certificate, in exchange for each new book donated, for food at any McCormick and Schmick's Restaurant.

Linda Manning, a DHS foster care and adoption recruiter in Portland, said the ability to read contributes greatly to a child's development, confidence and self-esteem. This year's goal is to collect 2,600 books.

"I think we can all remember as children what it was like to receive a brand new book that we could call our own," said Manning. "This may seem like a small gesture, but for children who have lost so much, it's a big deal."

Misty LaPine, who is a foster parent and adoptive parent in Milwaukie, grew up in the Oregon foster care system.

"I think that the literacy of foster care children is something that is overlooked," she said. "Reading is a simple skill and you can't succeed without it."

LaPine, who has adopted six children and fostered dozens, said she and her husband work hard to equip their children with the values and skills that will make them successful.

"We expect these children to grow up in foster care and then do what?" said LaPine. "As I aged out of foster care, I wondered what was I going to do now. When you give children books, you are giving them tools for success."

Beginning May 1, new books may be donated at any of the McCormick and Schmick restaurants in the Portland metro area:

•Jakes Famous Crawfish, SW 12th and Stark

•Harborside Restaurant, River Place Marina

•McCormick and Schmick's, SW 1st and Oak

•McCormick's Fish House, SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and

•Jakes's Grill, SW 10th and Alder

Or, purchase a new book at any Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Portland area and donate it at the store. Books may be donated through May 31.