There were two annual occasions celebrated in Costa Mesa’s Donald Dungan Library on Saturday.
The local alumnae club of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity commemorated Dr. Seuss’ March 2 birthday and marked 100 years of the fraternity’s literacy push by inviting local kids to read, eat and compete.
At a cluster of tables amid the bookshelves, volunteers clicked on a stopwatch for 30 seconds while an elementary schooler read as far as they could through a Dr. Seuss tale.
They then passed it to the next student in line, who tried to beat the mark.
The winner walked away with cookie that Pi Beta Phis baked.
“The kids are so excited about it. They’re are even sewing the hats,” South Coast Alumnae Club president Katie Shreve said, motioning to a table where they were sewing brims onto red-and-white-striped felt hats.
Each year Pi Beta Phis across the nation host literacy awareness and fundraising events on the author’s birthday.
At its founding, Pi Beta Phi was modeled after a fraternity even though its members are female, which is why they avoid calling it a sorority, Shreve explained.
This was the local club’s first time hosting the event in Costa Mesa, but it’s not a one-time commitment.
The club has also started a relationship with College Park Elementary in the city. They will be donating books and reading to a third-grade class there.
On Saturday, club members said the need in the community and enthusiasm for books was clear.
“We got all of this just from putting out a couple of fliers,” said Diane Hardie, the club’s philanthropy chair.