Democrat Women support education

KNOXVILLE, TN – When school starts back for the 2015-2016 term, students at Maynard Elementary School can expect a real treat. Free books are on the way.

Due to a program launched by Martha Rose Woodward, a retired school teacher, Betty Reddick, Democratic Women of Knoxville’s leader and Sid Gwyn, local businessman, students in grades 2nd through 5th will be given free books each to take home and keep.

More books will be given to the students during this school year in hopes of increasing reading practice. Democratic Women of Knoxville, a club that recently celebrated its 25th year, sponsors programs and events that support education.

As a long-time member of Friends of the Library, Woodward said that she negotiated with the group in order to purchase books left over from their big sale held in May at a discounted rate.

“After Betty’s group paid for the books, I selected the ones I knew would coordinate with the skills being taught in each grade. After I boxed up the books, we needed a place to store them. Betty was going to rent a storage unit, but my good friend, Sid Gwyn, had an empty house he offered as space for storage until time for school to begin,” said Woodward.

The books were sorted according to grade levels and placed in bags made by the members of the club from tee-shirts.

Contact was made with the principal of Maynard Elementary School, Kim Wilburn-Collum, who was thrilled for her students to have the opportunity to be given free books. A date was set and free books will be going home with the lucky students soon.

“We wanted a program like this one,” said Wilburn-Collum. “We just didn’t know how it might happen. This fits the needs of our students.”

Anyone in the community who would like to make a donation for the program may contact Betty Reddick via e mail at

Democratic Women of Knoxville meets on the first Monday of the month at 12:00 noon at the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council, located at 1522 Bill Williams Drive. Membership is open.


Democratic Women of Knoxville’s Club made no-sew bags using old tee-shirts to hold the free books being distributed at Maynard Elementary School in Knoxville. Photo by M. Woodward.