Fresno 7-Eleven offers free Slurpees to kids who read

The new year is looking a little brighter for some children who live in a Central Fresno neighborhood.
January 2, 2014 6:15:53 AM PST
The new year is looking a little brighter for some children who live in a Central Fresno neighborhood.

For most of us a trip to the convenience store involves picking up a quick snack a drink or maybe even a lottery ticket. But at one Central Fresno 7-Eleven you'll find kids of all ages, borrowing, not buying something you'd probably find at your local library.

The checkout line is usually pretty busy. But not too far away, in a tucked away corner of this convenience store - you'll find a much more loyal clientele. Adam, 6, four year old lily and three year old Emma are regulars . They come in with their parents - but stay for a cold concoction.

Slurpees are what keeps kids coming back to the store. But what is different at this 7-Eleven is how they earn the icy drink.

"Slurpee is very, very attractive -- very lucrative. So I thought if we give them a Slurpee and lure them to read, why not," said Sushil Prakash, store owner.

Prakash started a free library inside his shop in response to the high crime rate nearby. "People have nothing better to do. Kids doing graffiti. They're trying to steal from the store. They're into gangs. Little kids who you don't expect them to do what they do."

The idea is simple. Borrow a book, write a report, and return it to get the popular drink.

"It's a wonderful feeling. I have had so many good stories of kids that were going the wrong way and now they try to spend time at home reading.

Sushil's son doesn't mind donating a lot of his own reading material to fund the stash. "It feels happy that when you share books with other people. They also feel happy and we feel happy," said Suraj Prakash, Fresno.

The little library has been so successful that nearby schools have donated used books to help.

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If you have any reading material you'd like to share, you can drop it off at:

7-Eleven
2414 N Fruit Ave.
Fresno, CA 93705

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