Aiken community members run to raise funds for a book vending machine

Sep. 9—On Saturday morning, community members eager to sweat it out for a good cause gathered at Citizens Park for the Love for the Run of Reading Race fundraiser.

The event was organized by Christine Escalante, who is helping her daughter Trinity raise money for a book vending machine to place in Gloverville Elementary school. According to Escalante, Trinity is a Girl Scout looking to earn her bronze badge by leaving behind "something sustainable" that can still be used by others after she advances to middle school.

This project is being completed by the Escalante family independently of Gloverville Elementary.

A book vending machine works like a snack vending machine, allowing students to make a book selection in exchange for tokens which can be given out by teachers for good behavior. The machine will be stocked with donated books, ranging from picture books to short chapter books.

Trinity Escalante is in the fifth grade and loves reading, which is what inspired her to start this project. She thinks everyone should be able to have access to the magic of books.

"The book takes you into an imaginary land, like you're in the book," she said.

Although the project is not directly attached to Gloverville Elementary School, its principal, Nathan Lobaugh, said he looks forward to the benefits of having a book vending machine.

"I'm 100% excited for it," he said over a phone call.

So far, the Escalante family has reached about $1,000 of their goal of between $7,000 and $8,000. Donations are accepted, and more fundraisers similar to Saturday's race are in the works for the future.

Anyone interested in donating, getting involved or learning about upcoming fundraisers can email Christine Escalante at