Jacksonville 7-Year-Old Brings Charity To Illinois State Fair

Aug 2, 2018

Seven-year-old Beckham Oldenettel (left) started his charity "Beckham's Bookshelf" when he was 5-years-old. He was inspired by his older brother Kellon (right), who has his own community service project collecting and donating socks. The brothers are encouraging fair-goers to bring their new or lightly used books and drop them off at the fair's donation box.
Credit Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield is one week away and among the usual annual offerings is a new effort to raise awareness of community service projects.

Seven-year-old Beckham Oldenettel — of Jacksonville — is bringing his Beckham’s Bookshelf charity to the fair. He has already donated over 7,000 books to schools, hospitals and other organizations serving kids across Central Illinois. 

His inspiration is older brother, 9-year-old Kellon, who started his own community service project when he was just 5-years-old. “He (Kellon) collects socks, and every single time he got socks, I really wanted to collect books,” Beckham said. 

Kellon said he hopes fair-goers wil support his brother's charity. "It doesn't matter how old you are, but you can always make a difference," he said.

A donation box will be inside the agriculture tent. Organizers say they're encouraging for new or gently used books about agriculture or any other topic. The first 100 donations will receive a free drawing bag.

The fair runs from August 9th to the 19th and will also feature events around the state’s bicentennial celebration.