Aaron Sykes of the St. Joseph’s Prep Mission and Ministry Team delivers backpacks filled with children’s books to St. Peter the Apostle School. The effort is part of an annual drive that has been hosted by the Prep for some 20 years. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School)

Students at one Catholic elementary school are ready to relax with a good read, thanks to some help from their academic neighbors.

With a donor’s assistance, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School recently sent 100 backpacks, each containing three children’s books, to nearby St. Peter the Apostle School in Philadelphia. Erick Woods, Prep campus minister for Ignatian service, coordinated delivery of the rucksacks to a group of St. Peter’s School administrators, whose smiles were evident beneath their facemasks.

The books were collected through the annual Prep Book Drive, which for the past two decades has provided children’s books to school libraries unable to afford them.

Organized by Prep English instructor Joe Coyle, the drive has collected over 250,000 books have been from the Prep community. The donations have helped support the Philadelphia Reads literacy initiative, while allowing countless teachers to create classroom libraries and ensure children’s access to books.

Leftover books from this year’s campaign were donated to “Grands as Parents,” a North Philadelphia advocacy group for non-parental caregivers of children, to support a backpack giveaway sponsored by the office of State Senator Sharif Street.