Babies born in the Whanganui, Taihape and Waimarino areas are set to get a helping hand with literacy.
The Rotary Club of Wanganui North has gifted 400 "Rhyming Around the Alphabet" books and alphabet flashcard sets to the Whanganui District Health Board for the whānau of each baby born in those areas.
Rotary Club of Wanganui North past president Dugald Matheson, who is a Family Court judge, wanted to extend Rotary's literacy projects - such as books in homes and dictionaries in schools - to infants.
"Why are we waiting until these kids are at school?" Judge Matheson said.
"The best thing a parent can do to bond with their child is by sitting down with them and reading books. This is a small beginning. I hope it gets bigger."
A Rotary youth service committee member and Whanganui DHB staff member, Maree Carter, worked with current club president Evert Van Reneen to get the project off the ground.
The Covid-19 pandemic slowed it down but on March 30 members of the club, the DHB's director of midwifery Lucy Pettit and her midwifery colleagues and the Māori Health Team and haumoana, who work on the maternity and children's wards, had a mihi whakatau where the books were handed over.
"I acknowledge anything which supports our tamariki and their learning," kaitakitaki educator Mal Rerekura said.
"We want to teach our kids you can read and learn anything without going outside your home. You can travel anywhere you want."
Pettit said the donation would be "really beneficial".
"We're really humbled at this - it's absolutely lovely," she said.
The books and other community projects are funded through the Rotary trailer raffle.