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Free vending machines installed to combat Detroit book deserts

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Detroit is often described by the absence of things: abandoned lots, food deserts, busses that never arrive, dreams that never come to fruition. And in some areas of the city, there's another thing missing — books.

To help get books into the hands of some of the children who need them most, JetBlue launched its "Soar with Reading" program, which will deliver 100,000 books to Detroit via strategically placed vending machines.

The program began in 2011, and Detroit was selected in 2015 after winning an online voting competition.

According to research commissioned by JetBlue, Detroit is home a number of areas that are considered book deserts, where children and their families have little or no access to purchase age-appropriate books. Hamtramck was found to only have one book for every 42 children.

Five locations will house the machines, which will feature updated titles every two weeks. Children and their families are welcome to use the vending machines as often as they like, and take as many books they like all summer long.

For more information about locations, titles, and weekly story hours, text SOAR to 77948 or visit SoarwithReading.com.

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