Iron Bowl rivalry prompts Alabama DA offices to raise nearly $6K for childhood literacy

If you think the Iron Bowl rivalry is all about trash talk and touchdowns, think again.

Two Alabama prosecutors launched a friendly this month to raise money for charity, following the annual University of Alabama Crimson Tide football game against the Auburn University Tigers.

Offices of the Lee County District Attorney and Tuscaloosa County District Attorney held competitive book promotions Nov. 1-26 for Reach Out and Read-Alabama, a program of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The non-profit organization partners with medical practices and clinics and provides books for needy children.

Together, the two prosecutors raised nearly $6,000 for Reach Out and Read-Alabama, according to a spokeswoman for the organization. The Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office was the winner, raising $3,230 of the $5,981 grand total.

The money will benefit approximately 26,000 children and families served by the two program locations in Lee County — Pediatric Associates of Auburn and Pediatric Clinic — and five program locations in Tuscaloosa County. They are Alabama Multi Specialty Clinic, Bama Pediatrics, Crimson Pediatrics, The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, and West Alabama Pediatrics.

Donations from the book campaign will be used to purchase books “prescribed by a pediatrician to help families understand their children’s developmental milestones,” the organization says. “Research has shown that when parents read books with their young children, they promote healthy brain development and create strong parent-child bonds that last a lifetime.”

Currently, 57 of Alabama’s pediatric practices and clinics serve as Reach Out and Read-Alabama program sites in 32 counties, affecting 40 percent of children in the state under age 5, the organization says.

Illiteracy is common among individuals in the criminal justice system. Investing in literacy efforts like Reach Out and Read-Alabama is an investment in our children, strong family bonds and safer communities,” Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone, no matter who they’re cheering for, who participated in the Iron Bowl book promotion.”

“Thank you to everyone who contributed. We believe strong families build strong communities and that reading is essential to the success of every child,” Hays Webb, a Tuscaloosa County District Attorney, said in a statement. “We are delighted to be fighting for this wonderful cause and we wish everyone a joyous holiday season. Roll tide!”

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