Love of literacy inspires newlyweds, wedding guests to support young readers

by | Feb 10, 2022 | 0 comments

We were surprised and honored when newlyweds Ross and Cynthia Merritt told us they asked their guests for donations to Lead to Read KC instead of gifts for their wedding.

“Ross and I discussed how we didn’t want or need any more ‘things,’” Cynthia said. “However, we know wedding guests often just want to provide a gift for the newly married couple. We decided to offer the opportunity for guests to donate to an organization.”

The couple loves to read — so much that their wedding was book-themed, with antique books and book quotes as decor. Plus, many of the wedding guests share the couple’s passions. “We knew they’d be as excited about this organization as we were,” she said. “Not only could we collect donations, but also spread the word about Lead to Read KC to a group who would be excited to learn about them and help.”

Ross and Cynthia gave their guests the option to donate books or make monetary donations. Information about Lead to Read KC on their wedding invitation led guests to our website, which includes a curated wish list of books, perfectly suited for the young readers we serve.

“We wanted our guests to be able to donate however they wanted, so they were more likely to participate,” Cynthia said. “It was a total hit.”

Indeed it was. The Merritts and their wedding guests purchased 66 beautiful, brand new books and made a generous cash donation to provide reading and mentoring support to children in our program at a time of critical need.

“We are very aware of the challenges some in our community face, especially BIPOC in under-resourced areas of the city,” Cynthia said. “When we found Lead to Read KC, it was a no-brainer that this is an organization we’d want to support,” she added.

Many thanks, Ross and Cynthia, for sharing your love of literacy in support of the many children Lead to Read KC serves!

Want to hold a donation drive or book drive of your own? Contact Linda Hughes at


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