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Food for thought: New UES vending machine dispenses books

Food for thought: New UES vending machine dispenses books

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UES Inchy Bookworm vending machine

Unionville Elementary School Principal Peggy Kinser, left, and Williams employee and parent John King watch first-grader Valerie King purchase a Curious George book from the school’s new Inchy Bookworm vending machine.

Last Friday, Unionville Elementary School celebrated the opening of its new “Inchy Bookworm” book vending machine.

The school staged a small ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new feature—which dispense books instead of sodas or snacks.

UES Principal Peggy Kinser said the Inchy Bookworm vending machine is loaded with books that offer a wide variety of subjects, genres and reading levels.

During this time of blended learning, both hybrid and virtual students have the opportunity to earn golden tokens that can be used to purchase books, Kinser said. For example, students can demonstrate kindness, good character and increased effort towards work completion. The goal is to reward students for positive choices and foster a love of reading in a fun innovative way, she said.

Last spring, with the help of former UES teacher Heather Smith and UES parent John King, the school was awarded a $2,500 HomeGrown Giving grant from King’s employer, Williams Companies. This grant, along with additional funding provided by the UES Parent Teacher Association, allowed for the purchase of the Inchy Bookworm Vending Machine.

King’s daughter, first-grader, Valerie, was the first official “customer” and used her token to select a Curious George book.

Kinser said the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the delivery of the vending machine until this fall. “However, it worked out perfectly as the books are safely “quarantined” inside the machine!” she said.

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