In hopes keeping kids out of trouble in a crime-ridden area, a Fresno, Calif. 7-Eleven store is giving out free Slurpees to children for each book they read.
Owners Sushil Prakash and Josephine Kiran opened up a mini-library in their store full of books donated by their son and local schools excited to support their initiative. Children who check out reading material and write a book report for them are rewarded with a free trip to the Slurpee machine.
The project, Prakash says, is his way of addressing the the Central California town’s above-average crime rates.
"It's a wonderful feeling,” he told ABC 7 News. “I have had so many good stories of kids that were going the wrong way and now they try to spend time at home reading."
Fresno has long struggled with gang violence and is home to what law enforcement considers the country’s largest independent street gang, the Bulldogs.
The little library caught the attention of Fresno officials who designated February 14 as “Josephine Kiran Day,” while Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, recently presented the store with a certificate of recognition for extraordinary service.
"When members of the community do things like this, it instills a lot of neighborhood pride and it shows that they are more than a business -- that they care about the community, that they want to give back," Perea told the Fresno Bee. "I hope this turns into a trend."
And it just might. Corporate executives from 7-Eleven visited Prakash and Kiran’s store on Tuesday to explore the idea of setting up libraries in stores across the country.