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    Dinner brings out imagination in Books from Birth supporters

    By Angie Mayes -

    More than $10,000 was raised Thursday night at the Wilson County’s Books from Birth dinner, attended by city and county leaders, as well as educators from around Wilson County.


    “The dinner is called the Imagination Dinner,” said Peggy Simpson, program director. “We have 40 tables and 320 people in attendance. All of the tables are decorated differently, many in the theme of books. We judge the tables and find the best-decorated table. During the night, we’ll have challenges between the tables. On our silent auction, we have more than 100 items on the silent auction. But this is for the Wilson Books from Birth, Dolly Parton’s Imagine Library.”

    The Books from birth program sends free books to children from birth to 5 years old, Simpson said. Currently, there are 5,200 children receiving books. More than 9,000 children have grown too old for the shipment. 

    “Since 2005, we have served more than 14,000 children by mailing them books,” she said.

    Each group purchased a table of eight for $250 In addition, those dining paid their servers for silverware and other items. A silent and a live auction also took place. To top it all off, groups could challenge other groups to do something silly.

    Most of those in attendance dressed up in wacky costumes, such as characters from Dr. Seuss books, “Where’s Waldo?” characters and those from another popular children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web.” Each table had a theme, and those at the table dressed according to that theme.

    Educators representing schools took up many of the tables, but Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead, Wilson One and Caldwell Banker were among the others who took advantage of the good times at the event.

    “I’m here to support the Books from Birth program,” said teacher Sheri Fulghum. 

    She and her table were dressed as Pete the Cat. 

    “We believe in literacy and believe in what Dolly does.”

    Haley Pitcock, a preschool teacher from Cedars Preparatory School, said she wanted to support the efforts because “it’s for a good cause.”

    Circuit Clerk Debbie Moss played host to a table and said she did so because of the books. 

    “I love this program,” she said. “My grandchildren loved getting the books. They’re too old now, but they’re here for the first time and are having a good time.”

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