Books donation

Local McDonald’s franchise owner Jimmy Ferguson donates 150 Spanish STEM books to Temple Independent School District.

In an unexpected gift by a McDonald’s franchise owner, Hector P. Garcia Elementary School in Temple received a donation of Spanish-language STEM books Wednesday.

The books — usually distributed with restaurant Happy Meals — aim to spread an interest in science, technology, engineering and math in young readers. The books are part a collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Peanuts Worldwide LLC in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Garcia Elementary received 150 books from local McDonald’s franchise owner Jimmy Ferguson, part of a greater effort by McDonald’s to celebrate National Literacy Month.

“These (books) are part of McDonald’s Happy Meals, and owner operators like Jimmy got together to get as many of these into non-profits or schools just to help out with the community,” Luke Sheffield, McDonald’s regional spokesman, said. “We ordered 650 of them and my job is to pass them out to Central Texas. We are giving 150 of them right here to Temple ISD.”

Officials directed the books be given to Garcia Elementary since the school has the highest concentration of bilingual students in the Temple Independent School District.

Franchise owners in Texas wanted to spread the books on a larger scale. Some owners donated their books to their local nonprofits, while Ferguson wanted to donate the books to schools with populations that would need them.

“This relates to science and math in a fun way,” Ferguson said. “Whenever we have an opportunity like this, when it is related to education, we want to make sure that we share with the communities and especially the schools.”

School district spokesman Christian Hernandez said that since the books are geared toward the reading age of 8, they likely will be used in second-grade science classes.