ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- A local Pizza Hut is giving back to the community in a special way today. Instead of handing out free pizza's, they're handing out free books. The Southport Pizza Hut is one of the top ten stores in the nation to have raised over $5,000 for their literacy projects.

Pizza Hut and First Book then teamed up to find a local high school to donate books to; with Elmira High School being the lucky recipient. So for today and tomorrow, 600 high school students will get to choose 4 books of their own to take home. For school officials, they say this is a way to spread the message of why reading is important. 

"This is overwhelming," said Elmira High School Assistant Principal, Joy Casciotti. "It's really important to be reading, no matter what you're reading because we have to keep up the stamina for reading. Reading is a big part of our lives and it's going to help us be more successful in the long run. So yeah, we are extremely excited about having these books and having the kids have an opportunity to pick what would be interesting to them."

5,400 books were donated to the school, with a retail value of $21,000.This is only the first half of the donation, though. In March, the other half of the school will be able to pick out four brand new books to take home as well.