The gift of reading was given to dozens of local kids, courtesy of Kevin Chaves.
The Kings Park High School junior collected 330 children's books this winter and delivered them as holiday gifts to a group of youngsters in after-school programs at Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch.
The books came from the Kings Parks Library, which Chaves learned was in the process of remodeling and had a surplus of books in storage.
Chaves said he collected another 1,000 books earlier last year for the outreach center. "I heard they were low on books, so I stayed on the lookout," said Chaves, 16. Of the center, he said: "I really believe in what they are doing there."
Chaves' other efforts for the center include raising about $11,000 over the past two years by selling hunger awareness car magnets, as well as collecting more than 8,000 pounds of food and building 600-square-feet worth of shelving to help store the food.
He has collected more than 600 pieces of gently used sports equipment for the center and organized a day of fitness in which the children visited Sportime in Kings Park.
Chaves, a Boy Scout, is on his school's varsity tennis team and a member of the National Honor Society.