HILLSBOROUGH — Every year, 10 branches of the Goddard School in New Jersey endeavor to collaborate on an outreach or fundraising effort. Their partnership this year with the Bridge of Books Foundation has yielded more than 12,000 donated books, soon to be given to children of all ages in need.

Goddard's initial goal of securing 10,000 book donations, which it easily exceeded, was spearheaded by Susan Hoy, whose son Tim is the director of operations at the Hillsborough location. They work together at the school. After doing some research, the school system settled on Bridge of Books to be the beneficiary of its book drive.

"We came up with the idea of a book collection as a way to give back to the community and get kids excited about reading, which — while it's a daily event here — in some areas, it's not easy to have such access to literacy," Tim Hoy said.

Bridge of Books, which was started in New Jersey by Abby Daily after she heard about the concept of the foundation in California, collects new and gently used books from across the state. Volunteers sort the books by age group, from practically birth all the way up to age 18, and make sure they are delivered to underserved communities, schools, and homes.

Over 13 years, the organization has donated some 750,000 books to children in need of access to them, including tens of thousands that will soon be going to Monmouth County children in addition to the 12,139 raised by Goddard across several different counties.

Daily said that in many cases, outside groups will do book drives for them, spurred by kids and adults alike who don't want to throw out their old books, but may not have a place in their home to store them.

"I really believe, and we've believed this over the years, that it's a way to start to introduce the concept of empathy and giving to very young children," she said.

The Goddard School's drive was launched unbeknownst to Bridge of Books, but the eventual connection proved so successful that there is interest in pairing up again in the future. For Tim Hoy's part, he believes this was one of Goddard's biggest-ever charity events, and he wants to brainstorm ways to make it even better.

There is a timely element as well: With Thursday marking the birthday of Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, the drive ties in perfectly with Read Across America Day.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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