COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Brewer Elementary School in Columbus has about 500 students, according to its principal, Patricia Woodall. Each one of them received four free, new books this past Friday thanks to a collaborative project between insurance company Aflac Inc. and audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG’s KPMG Family for Literacy (KFFL) program. Aflac and KPMG raised and donated $15,300 to purchase the books.

“There were probably 10 to 15 different titles per grade level,” Woodall said. “And we chose fiction and non-fiction books because our kids like both on topics that they like to read about.”

After choosing their books from the book fair, students enjoyed interactive reading session with KFFL volunteers.

“I still have some money left over, and we’ll have another event coming up this year, maybe around Christmas time to actually put more books in their hands,” Woodall said.

Books weren’t the only things students received. Woodall said Aflac donated portfolios to Brewer Elementary teachers, and students received stuffed Aflac ducks, pencils and erasers from the company. KPMG supplied backpacks to hold these and the books.

Woodall said that five years ago, an Aflac employee named Lisa Dente asked Woodall if she could donate used books to Brewer Elementary.

“So it’s something that started out very small,” Woodall said. “And every year, her and her accounting department, they would donate books to Brewer every year, so I was able to [send home] one gently used book or some new with every child every year at Christmas and then at the end of the year for the summertime. And then she just took it to a whole other level and partnered with their accounting firm.”

Woodall said Dente is very passionate about literacy and that she appreciates Dente’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of Brewer Elementary students. She said KPMG and Aflac will donate more money in the future to put books on the library shelves at Brewer Elementary.

Aflac Chief Accounting Officer June Howard said in an email that Aflac was happy to help with the project.

“We were so pleased to partner with KPMG and Brewer Elementary to bring the wonderful gift of reading to children who might otherwise not have access to the books they need to grow and learn in and away from the classroom,” Howard said. “Seeing their faces light up warmed the hearts of all of the Aflac employees who volunteered and all of our team members who helped raise more than $13,300 to help make this day happen. This is our way of extending Aflac’s culture of giving back and truly making a difference.”

KPMG explains on its website that KFFL is a fund of the KPMG U.S. Foundation. It aims to fight childhood illiteracy by donating books and educational resources to children in need and develop future leaders through reading.

“KPMG volunteers work with KFFL in its collaboration with the award winning nonprofit social enterprise, First Book,” says the website. “KFFL has provided nearly 6 million new books to children in low-income communities since its inception in 2008.”