BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As part of Read Cross America, the United Way of Kern County is distributing new books to preschools.

For a kickoff event, volunteers are packaging nearly 600 books to send to children in its Book of the Month Club, a release said.

“When a child is given a brand new book in their hands, it is an investment in their future,” said Rachel Hoetker, United Way of Kern County’s education manager. “We know that if children have a love for books, it will lead to a love for reading, which will lead to greater academic success down the road.”