PLANO, Texas, February 26, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Ask someone, “What’s your favorite childhood book?” Most have a quick answer and a smile on their face. But for some people, there isn’t a quick answer. Or an answer at all.
A lack of books in the home is directly linked to an increased likelihood that a child will read below his or her grade level by the fourth grade. In fact, 25 million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently. And students who can’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers, a huge barrier to meeting their full potential as adults.
That’s why Pizza Hut, the nation’s longest-standing corporate supporter of literacy, is kick-starting a giving program to tackle issues that lead to illiteracy. Through Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project – the company’s global commitment to literacy – the program will enable access to books and educational resources, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading.
“Literacy is a critical, foundational life skill that can have a profound impact on quality of life, yet it is an often overlooked social issue,” said Artie Starrs, President, Pizza Hut U.S. “The reality for many children growing up is that they do not have access to books in their home. Working alongside our 150,000 team members in the U.S., we are committed to help millions of children start a new chapter by providing books and educational resources they need to reach their full potential.”
The Literacy Project fundraising campaign, which runs February 26 through April 15, is a critical part of achieving the company’s goal to transform the lives of 100 million people in just 10 years through reading. Pizza Hut is partnering with First Book, a recognized nonprofit, social sector leader, on its journey to fulfilling this goal. Supporters can join Pizza Hut on its mission by donating when they order from Pizza Hut in store, by phone and online or by visiting PizzaHut.com/TheLiteracyProject to give directly. All funds raised will provide educators with credits to obtain books and resources on the First Book Marketplace for selected schools and programs located near Pizza Hut restaurants.
“First Book is proud to continue to partner with Pizza Hut on its journey to impact 100 million lives through reading,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book President, CEO and Co-Founder. “We share a mission to elevate opportunities for children in need, but we recognize that too many low-income communities simply don’t have the resources to provide children with access to books, with the result that teachers in these classrooms and programs often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money to try to provide what students need. Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project can help unlock the potential of millions of underserved children and communities.”
As part of the campaign, Pizza Hut is asking consumers to help jumpstart an important conversation about literacy. Tapping into the nostalgia many people have for reading their favorite childhood book, Pizza Hut is encouraging consumers to share the joy they experienced reading that book and to ask people to donate to help every child have that same experience.
As an incentive to share, Pizza Hut is giving away a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience to bring one lucky person’s favorite book to life. To enter for a chance to win, consumers can share the title of their favorite book and why it’s important to them on Instagram or Twitter, tag @PizzaHut and use the hashtags #HelpStartANewChapter #sweepstakes. The winner will be announced by April 30.
Nick Lachey, a multi-platinum recording artist, television personality and father of three, has joined Pizza Hut on its mission to raise awareness for literacy. Together, Lachey, Pizza Hut and First Book will give books to students at a public elementary school in Lachey’s local community to help inspire their love of reading.
“As a father of three young children, I witness the impact that reading has on their lives and imaginations every day,” said Lachey. “Pizza Hut and The Literacy Project are making an incredible impact by providing kids who may not have abundant access to books with resources that inspire their creativity. I’m proud to participate in this campaign and raise awareness for this important cause.”
Serving Communities Through Literacy
For 33 years, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program has nurtured a love of reading in more than 65 million students across the country, but the company wanted to make a greater impact. Building on this legacy, Pizza Hut established The Literacy Project in 2016 to raise awareness for literacy-related issues and engage consumers to help make a difference. In its first year, the campaign impacted 15.9 million people and distributed more than 275,000 books and educational resources to communities in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and South Africa.
A Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility
As a global brand, Pizza Hut is a strong corporate citizen and committed to supporting the communities it serves to ensure its team members, customers and neighbors have a chance to be their best. Supporting and encouraging literacy is one way Pizza Hut supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by helping to ensure all youth achieve literacy and numeracy by 2030.
While the company’s largest corporate social responsibility commitment is to literacy, Pizza Hut serves its communities in many ways. Pizza Hut is also a part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which engages youth age 16-24 who face systemic barriers to jobs and education in apprenticeships, internships, training programs and employment. The company also encourages its team members to continue their education through the Life Unboxed EDU initiative, which offers online courses along with tuition discounts and reimbursements.
Pizza Hut partners with Food Donation Connection on its Harvest Program, which donates food to hunger relief organizations. In 2016, Pizza Hut achieved a milestone, donating enough food to provide meals to more than 100 million people in need. The company also participates in the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an industry coalition created by the National Restaurant Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association working to reduce the amount of food waste generated, increase food donations to those in need and encourage recycling of unavoidable food waste to divert it from landfills.
To donate or for more information on Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, visit www.PizzaHut.com/TheLiteracyProject.
About Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), serves and delivers more pizzas than any other pizza company in the world. With easy order options including the Pizza Hut app, mobile site, Facebook and Twitter messenger and Amazon devices, Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery.
Founded in 1958, Pizza Hut has become the most-recognized pizza restaurant in the world, operating more than 16,400 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
Pizza Hut is also the proprietor of The Literacy Project, an initiative designed to enable access, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading. The program is rooted in the foundation set by the Pizza Hut BOOK IT!Program, which is the longest-running corporate supported literacy program, impacting more than 14 million students each year. For more information, visit www.pizzahut.com.
About First Book
First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education — making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – affordable to its member network of more than 350,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.
Educators, librarians, providers, and others whose programs qualify for First Book resources by serving children in need can obtain more information about eligibility and sign up at firstbook.org/register. Visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.