Since 2001, the program has provided more than 2 million books to Detroit-area literacy efforts
Detroit —May 22, 2023 —DENCAP Dental Plans, a Detroit-based provider of dental insurance plans and Michigan’s largest Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO), is big on books – millions of them. The Kiwanis #1 Club of Detroit, the founding club of the global Kiwanis organization, established its signature Books for Kids program in 2001 thanks to the vision of DENCAP founder and Kiwanis Club #1 member Joseph Lentine, Sr., along with a fellow Kiwanians. Since that time, the Kiwanis #1 Club of Detroit has distributed well over two million free books to Detroit school children, nonprofits servicing children, and area literacy groups.
DENCAP ownership passed to Lentine’s son, Joe Lentine, Jr., in 2007, and the commitment to Books for Kids has grown even stronger under Lentine Jr.’s watch.
“DENCAP and Kiwanis #1 Club of Detroit are deeply committed to my father’s belief that if you can read, you can work and have a better life,” Lentine Jr., also a member of Kiwanis #1 Club, said. “Every year since 2001, Books for Kids has donated more than 100,000 books – but many years the donations have exceeded 200,000 books.”
Staffed completely by volunteers, the program receives three major book deliveries per year of 25,000 to 50,000 books per delivery, gathered chiefly from publisher overruns. The books, geared to pre-K through 8th grade, are stored at DENCAP’s warehouse at 290 East Milwaukee, just down the block from DENCAP’s Detroit headquarters.
“It’s all hands on deck for the deliveries, with approximately 10 volunteers receiving, sorting, labeling and organizing books for easier distribution, which takes place every Thursday year-round,” Lentine Jr. said.
Donation day regularly attracts such organizations as Starfish Family Services, Kids-TALK Children’s Advocacy Center, the Detroit Innovation Academy, Children’s Garden (Dearborn), Matrix Head Start, and United Children and Family Head Start. The Detroit Public Library takes about 1,000 books each week for its mobile unit serving Detroit neighborhoods. On one particularly busy donation Thursday last month, 3,997 books were distributed, not including those given to the Detroit Public Library.
“When parents have to choose between buying food for their child or a book, food is going to rightly win out. With free, new books from the Books for Kids program, parents don’t have to choose; it’s brain food to brighten a child’s future and hopefully create a life-long love of reading and learning,” Lentine Jr. said.
Additional details, including an application for organizations to participate in the Books for Kids program, can be found on the Kiwanis #1 Club of Detroit website, www.kiwanis1.org.
Founded in Detroit in 1915 by a group of businessmen, Kiwanis is a global organization dedicated to serving the children of the world. Books for Kids is the signature program of Kiwanis #1 Club of Detroit, the Kiwanis organization’s founding club. Learn more about Kiwanis here.
About DENCAP Dental Plans
Founded in Detroit in 1984 with a mission to offer dental coverage for all, DENCAP is a licensed insurance business with the State of Michigan and provides affordable and comprehensive Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) and Point of Service (POS) plan options for groups, employers, families and individuals. DENCAP is also an experienced third-party administrator (TPA), providing all aspects of dental plan management to insurance companies, self-funded dental plans and government agencies. Learn more at the DENCAP website.