Bradenton retiree wins books for Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary from Kellogg's, Winn Dixie

BRADENTON -- Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary School will get $7,500 worth of books next week, after a Bradenton retiree won a sweepstakes and chose the school as the recipient.

Kellogg's and Winn Dixie ran the sweepstakes in 112 stores in South Florida during back-to-school sales period in August. Customers could text in to win and if chosen, pick a local school to receive $7,500 worth of Scholastic books to help support reading initiatives in local schools.

Edith Dougherty, 67, entered the contest while shopping at the Winn Dixie on Cortez and 26th Street West.

"In my mind I pictured it would be really great if I won," Dougherty said during a ceremony Wednesday at the store. "If I won, I knew I had the ideal place."

Dougherty's son, James, works as the student support specialist at Orange Ridge. James Dougherty and school principal Maribeth Mason, along with a handful of students, were there to thank Dougherty.

"The key piece is to try to get kids to love reading," Mason said. Having a wide range of books, she added, can help keep kids interested.

Once the school gets the books, Mason said they'll look through the titles before deciding how best to use them. They may join classroom libraries, be sent home with students or become part of the student-of-the-month celebration, which James Dougherty runs.

"All the schools are hungry for extra resources that we can get into the hands of our kids," the student support specialist said.

A Kellogg's executive was on hand Wednesday to present the award.

"We realize that childhood literacy is a very important matter," said James Morris, a national account executive with Kellogg's. "This is a great way to get the community involved."

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.