Ferst Readers of Tallapoosa County has big fish to fry after hosting its first fishing tournament fundraiser.

The nonprofit held the fundraiser in April but the money it made can sustain the organization for only a few months. 

Ferst Readers is looking for donors so it can keep supplying books to area children. It gives children up to 5 a new book every month to read so they’re prepared for kindergarten. 

“With the exposure with having books they’ll be able to hopefully be much more ready for school,” treasurer Sue Paggen said.

The local program has been around for two years and sent 467 books to its children last month.

“Our first-year goal was to register 400 children and we found out it’s not really hard to register children, it’s really hard to get money to pay for the books,” founder Elaine Toney said.

The program also raises funds with Niffer’s Nights where a percentage of customers’ bills went to the program. Toney said members are in the planning stage of holding a bike ride around Lake Martin. 

“Currently only 21% of the children in Tallapoosa County are ready to read,” Ferst Readers member Nancy Wheeler said. “Tallapoosa County needs books for children.”

The program is free for all parents to sign up but costs $36 a year per child for the organization. Toney said the children in the program can collect up to 60 books if they are in the program five years.

“We get very passionate about it,” Wheeler said. “The thought of my grandchildren not being able to read would make me cry. Reading is fundamental.”

Toney said the local Ferst Readers group is made up of mainly retired teachers who are passionate about reading.

“The thing about having it in your home is those children,” Wheeler said. “If they have favorite books then they can pass it down to their children because that’s what my children are doing now. That to me is like carrying on the reading tradition.”

Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 676, Dadeville, Alabama, 36853 or through www.ferstreaders.org by clicking on the Tallapoosa County option under the “donate now” tab.

Ferst Readers of Tallapoosa County meets at 1 p.m. the fourth Thursday of the month on the lower level of Dadeville Public Library located at 205 North West St.