Kids Need Books is back! We’ve handed out more than 3000 books over the last four weeks at a time when local kids need books more than ever. Our distribution model is not the same—no pop-up food banks for now—but we are adapting to working safely during the pandemic: wearing masks, socially distancing, using hand sanitizer frequently, and minimizing touching of books.
KNB has delivered quality new books, (mostly non-fiction material for emerging readers), to local Bellingham teachers working at Title I summer schools for underserved populations. We’ve also partnered with the school district’s Lifeline Food network where we’ve connected kids with books at drive-through food pantries.
At another location—a large trailer park where more than 200 children live—I’ve accompanied volunteer teachers as they personally delivered food boxes to individual residences. Teachers then invited parents and kids to come outdoors to peruse the KNB book selection, by pointing to (but not touching) the books they wanted and I’d bag up their choices.
Finally, KNB has partnered during the summer fruit harvest season with the Agape Project (https://wwunewman.com/agape) in Lynden to serve migrant worker families. After families receive food boxes, they come over to the KNB book tables. Once again, we have kids and parents point to books they like and we prepare bags of reading material to go. Families are learning the new Kids Need Books’ shopping format of quickly “judging a book by its cover.” Last week we were able to serve more than 125 children and dozens of parents at Agape with over 650 books. (KNB extends its deepest gratitude to Agape volunteers who have helped as translators at the book tables.)
There may be a pandemic raging, but migrant pickers are laboring round the clock to bring in the raspberry crop—making sure all of us have access to food. They are essential workers. Kids Need Books believes it’s also essential to connect the children of these workers with quality books and a pathway to literacy. This morning we’re headed back to Lynden and the Agape Project with 1000 books. It’s time to mask up and get to work.
Kids Need Books runs on donations and is part of the non-profit Interfaith Coalition. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation.