MILTON — If you’ve passed by the Milton Salvation Army headquarters on Center Street over the last two weeks, you may have noticed a blue and yellow box which has been placed in front of the building. If you’ve peeked inside the box, you’ve found that it’s filled with children’s books.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Works (UFCW) Local 38 gathered at the box Thursday to dedicate it, and place more children’s books inside.

“We put up a little library,” Gary Rute, a vice president of the UFCW Local 38 board, said. “I saw this (idea) online. We thought we would ask our members to donate some children’s books that were around the house.”

He said the box was built by member Bernie Valentine. It’s painted in the union’s colors.

“The kids are free to take whatever books they want,” Rute said. “If they want to keep them, they can.”

He added that children who take books from the box are also welcome to bring them back for others to enjoy.

While children can take the books to enjoy, Rute said community members are also welcome to donate books to the little library if there’s space available.

Members of the union will continue donating children’s books in order to keep the little library well supplied.

“The Salvation Army thought this was a good idea,” Rute said. “They have children’s programs here. Anybody can walk by and take a book.”

Milton Salvation Army Lt. Jared Starnes offered thanks to the union members for donating the box and the books.

“The Salvation Army really has a history of partnering with people in learning projects,” Starnes said. “This is a great resource for the community.”

“We think it’s important for youngsters to read,” Rute said. “I hope (the community) uses it, takes advantage of it.”

He also noted that UFCW Local 38 has a history of giving back to the community. Among its efforts, members of the organization regularly donate toiletry items which are given to the Milton Salvation Army to distribute to those in need.

The union has approximately 1,000 members from several local businesses.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email

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