AUGUSTA — The Molina Foundation has announced the distribution of more than 5,000 free new books to designated community agencies that serve low-income households all around the state, according to a news release from the foundation.

Colorful children’s story and activity books, featuring fun themes and characters, were delivered to the 10 nonprofit community action programs, known as CAPs, which serve the state’s 16 counties. The books, which cover a range of grades and age levels, can give students and other young recipients materials for pleasure reading and family learning time during the summer break.

The Books Across Maine giveaway is part of the foundation’s Families Learning Together literacy campaign taking place over the next two months in select regions of the country. The campaign is designed to promote back-to-school learning and help combat the “summer slide” where students lose academic ground over the break. Students can drop an average of two to three months in reading and math skills — a loss that can significantly impact their future academic and economic success, according to the release.

The CAPs, including the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program based in Waterville, will receive approximately 250 to 750 books each, depending on how many counties each serves. Every CAP will make its own arrangement to hand out the books in the coming weeks to the children and families in their programs. The CAPs, which are part of a statewide network, provide a range of services and assistance including those for transportation, child care, preschool and food/nutrition. Molina Medicaid Solutions of Maine is serving as the campaign’s primary corporate sponsor.

Altogether, the books have an estimated value of $42,300.

The Molina Foundation, based in Long Beach, California, believes that book distributions can be an effective way to reinforce storytelling at home and create opportunities to build home libraries. “We care deeply about helping children in their academic and personal achievement,” said Foundation President and Founder Martha Bernadett about the Maine initiative, according to the release. “We know that giving out books and learning materials can have a wonderfully positive impact on the kids and their families.”

Books Across Maine is a valuable effort that closely aligns with the work of the CAPs, stated Rick McCarthy, senior advisor for the Maine Community Action Association. All 10 CAPs, which provide statewide family support that includes preschool and home visitation services, are members of the MCAA.

“We are glad to partner with The Molina Foundation on this initiative,” McCarthy said, according to the release. “We know that one of the best things you can do for a young child is introduce them to books and reading. They are a gateway to lifelong learning and success. This is an exciting opportunity to help thousands of Maine kids get the strong start in life they deserve.”

Last month, as the first delivery of Books Across Maine, nearly 500 new children’s books were given away to visitors at the Old Hallowell Day festivities. The giveaway was handled by volunteers from Molina Medicaid Solutions of Maine and coordinated through the Hallowell Fire Department.

“We are pleased to support the Books Across Maine campaign,” said Peter Gray, regional vice president of operations at Molina Medicaid Solutions of Maine, according to the release. “Because health and education are so closely linked, we’re excited to join this partnership with The Molina Foundation and the MCAA to help make a difference across our state.”

Molina Medicaid Solutions of Maine is a subsidiary of Molina Healthcare Inc., a major corporate supporter of The Molina Foundation.

The Molina Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of reducing disparities in access to education and health. Since its inception in 2004, it has partnered with more than 2,000 organizations and schools around the country to promote literacy and wellness. In addition, it has donated more than 5 million new children’s books in English and Spanish, and hosted hundreds of free workshops and programs for educators, families, and children.

Books Across Maine Initiative 2017 Distribution List

• Old Hallowell Day: 478 books

• Aroostook County Action Program, Presque Isle: 360 books

• Midcoast Maine Community Action, Bath: 660 books

• Community Concepts Inc., Lewiston: 708 books

• Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, Waterville: 516 books

• Penquis, Bangor: 768 books

• The Opportunity Alliance, South Portland: 432 books

• Waldo Community Action Partners, Belfast: 252 books

• Washington Hancock Community Agency, Ellsworth: 528 books

• Western Maine Community Action, East Wilton: 252 books

• York County Community Action Corp., Sanford: 252 books

Total: 5,206 books