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Erik Jones visited Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand, Florida on February 15, 2024 to donate and unveil a "Bookworm" vending machine to the elementary school. Image from Volusia County Schools.

Erik Jones reads to children and delivers a ‘Bookworm’ vending machine to Florida school

Just days before competing in the DAYTONA 500, Erik Jones, driver of the No. 43 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, visited Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand.

After reading a short story to the students, Erik Jones and The Erik Jones Foundation partnered with AdventHealth to donate and unveil a “Bookworm” vending machine to the elementary school. This machine rewards kids for positive behaviors, as the students can earn special tokens to redeem for books they can keep.

In addition, AdventHealth announced they will donate $5,000 annually to keep the vending machine fully stocked with books for the children.

“I want these machines to inspire kids to read and continue reading. That’s the ultimate goal,” Jones said. “Being a strong reader is important to unlocking doors and helping young people live up to their full potential. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with AdventHealth to deliver another book vending machine for some well-deserving kids.”

When the race car driver established his foundation in 2021, he made “igniting a passion for reading” part of its mission. Book vending machines have become a signature part of his community efforts after Jones purchased one for his former elementary school and the school saw a 300% increase in the number of kids who chose a book as their reward for being good students.

“We are committed to nurturing healthier communities, and we believe early literacy is key to the future well-being of our children,” said Eric Lunde, AdventHealth DeLand CEO. “We hope this gift will help foster a love for reading and empower young minds, laying a foundation for a lifetime of success.”

On Feb. 18, Jones will pilot the No. 43 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE in the 66th running of the DAYTONA 500, marking the first of six races he will drive the AdventHealth-sponsored car. Jones’s first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series came at Daytona International Speedway in 2018.

“We are thrilled NASCAR driver Erik Jones visited today, not only to encourage our students to explore the world of books by reading to them, but also by donating a gift that will foster a love of literacy throughout their years at Blue Lake Elementary,” Principal Holly Bailey said. “We appreciate AdventHealth’s continued support in reinforcing the importance of attendance and academic success across Volusia County Schools.”

— Volusia County Schools —