Reading Seeds


In the City of Roanoke, almost one in three children lives in poverty. Three quarters of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. One in five kindergarteners arrives at school already behind on skills needed to learn to read. Nationally, an estimated 61% of low-income families do not have books in their homes and 80% of low-income 3rd graders do not read on grade-level. Children who are not reading on grade level by third grade are 13 times more likely to drop out of high school.

Reading Seeds, a mission of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, promotes literacy and a love of reading for neighborhood at-risk youth. We work with four city elementary schools—Grandin Court, Fishburn Park, Wasena, and Virginia Heights—as well as TAP Head Start’s Raleigh Court Child Development Center.

Volunteers read in classrooms at Wasena and Head Start on a weekly basis. Reading Seeds distributes books at Head Start and partners with Congregations in Action’s Pack-A-Snack program for elementary school children to include a new book two weekends a month.


With your help, Reading Seeds can continue to give new, age-appropriate books to 168 at-risk infants and children each month.

  • $25 buys books for eight children
  • $50 buys books for 17 children
  • $100 buys books for 33 children
  • $200 buys books for 66 children

Please make checks payable to UUCR and indicate Reading Seeds on the memo line. Mail donations to:

Reading Seeds
Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke
2015 Grandin Rd., Roanoke, VA 24015

If you would like a receipt for tax purposes, be sure to include your name and mailing address with your donation.


Reading Seeds is staffed completely by volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved, email We could use folks to help us with the following:

  • external communications and public relations, including social and traditional media
  • communications with supporters and stakeholders
  • fundraising
  • grant writing
  • record keeping
  • volunteer recruitment
  • reading in classrooms or one-on-one with children
  • special events and administrative tasks (great for those whose schedules do not allow an ongoing commitment)

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you get your books and how much do they cost?
We order books from First Book Marketplace. All of their selections are either paperback or board books and average $3.00/book.

Can I donate second-hand books?
Reading Seeds can only distribute new books to the children in our program; however, you can donate used books to the Roanoke City Public Library, Roanoke County Public Library, or the Roanoke Valley AAUW book sales.

How do you fund the program?
Most of our support comes from contributions by members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, a grant from the Dorothy Koch Family Foundation, and an in-kind donation from Star City Reads. We have several fundraisers each year and will continue to apply for grants in the future.

Where do you get your volunteers?
All of our current volunteers are members or friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke.

Have other questions?
Email us at