LEMOORE — The Lemoore Branch of the Kings County Library was, fittingly, filled with the sound of children’s voices as representatives from Leprino Foods in Lemoore handed a $20,000 check to the library.

It was during Children’s Weekly Storytime that employees from Leprino Foods and Kings County Library staff came together Monday and announced the library would be the next recipient of a donation from the Leprino Foods Company Foundation.

Ana Nicks, human resources manager for Leprino Food’s Lemoore East facility, said a few years ago Leprino started the foundation in an effort to help local communities.

Nicks said the four pillars the company strives to help are education, health, nutrition and community needs. She said helping the library fell under a few of the core pillars.

“We decided to take a look at what they could use and decided technology was an area — because it is a very small library,” Nicks said.

In order to provide a greater impact for the library, Nicks said both the Lemoore East and Lemoore West Leprino facilities combined foundation funds to provide the $20,000.

Kings County Library Director Natalie Rencher said the money will be used to purchase five laptop computers, two stand-alone computer stations for children and three tablet computers for children — equipped with both English and Spanish programs for early literacy.

Rencher said both the Hanford and Corcoran branches have laptops at the libraries, but this will be a first for the Lemoore branch. She said library patrons can check out the laptops to use inside the library.

“I’m pretty sure by February we’ll have everything purchased and all ready to go,” Rencher said.

Besides providing a partnership between Leprino and the library, Rencher said being able to receive this money allows the library to leverage all the services they have been providing to the community of Lemoore.

Nicks said Leprino is always encouraging employees to volunteer and have more engagement within the community. She said employees are proud of what they have been able to accomplish.

“We have a big footprint here in the community,” Nicks said “We have a responsibility to try to promote help and service.”

Nicks said Leprino is always looking toward the future and hoping to help different areas of the community.

“It’s a great feeling,” Nicks said. “People get busy but it’s still nice to know that you’re donating and making a difference in the community.”

Wilma Humason is the president of the Friends of the Kings County Library, a nonprofit organization that advocates, fundraises and supports the Kings County Library and related literary and educational programs.

Friends of the Library helped start the children’s reading program and Humason said the 12-member group are all “absolutely stunned and thrilled” that the library is getting the money from Leprino.

“That opens up the world to a child,” Humason said of the importance of reading and early literacy. “You can see a child change when he or she comes to know reading. Pretty soon they want to take all kinds of books home with them.”

Rencher said a long-term goal for the Kings County Library system is to renovate the Lemoore branch someday to make it larger and provide new furniture. She said the Lemoore branch is the second-largest circulating library in the county and hopes the renovation will boost the amount of people using the library’s services.

Humason said Friends of the Library is going to focus its efforts on helping fundraise for the renovation and Nicks said Leprino would also like to help with the endeavor in the future as well.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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