Monthly Archives: December 2013

Giving and receiving with Gaines Elementary

This time of year, we’re reminded that there is beauty in both giving and receiving.

As a charity that relies on donated books and funds – so we can turn around and give books to children – we are constantly aware of this fact. We receive so we can give. We find joy and purpose in giving, and are sustained in receiving.

But, the beauty of this synergy was highlighted for us in a spectacular way today.

This morning, Leslie met Media Specialist Angie Pendley and P.E. Teacher Gordon Walls at the warehouse to receive a truckload of donated books. Simple enough – we get donated books all of the time.

Here’s what is really special about this donation: These books were collected through a book drive at Gaines Elementary School, one of the schools where we distribute books each spring.

And there were 2,458 of them. That’s right: 2,458 books collected by students who annually receive books from us.

It was all organized by Angie, and it exceeded her wildest expectations.

Many of the donated books are ones that students received from us in past years – books they have grown out of, and want other children to benefit from. For an organization that got its start purely through collecting used books, there’s something really special about this. We still rely heavily on used books, but to receive donations from the very children we benefit – well, it’s a wonderful embodiment of the spirit of giving.

At the beginning of the book drive, Angie told students in the media center that this would be a way of giving back to an organization that gives to them. It’s awe-inspiring to see students recognize that they have the power to give the same [...]

By |December 20th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Giving and receiving with Gaines Elementary|
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    One small step for BFK, one giant leap for the children we serve

One small step for BFK, one giant leap for the children we serve

We’re whittling away at it.

As of this morning, we need 261 sponsors for the children we serve. That’s out of 3,700 children who will receive books from BFK in May of 2014.

We’ve made huge progress since last month, when 1,195 children needed sponsors. We are always amazed at how far we can go in a short period – and at how the community will step up to meet a need.

Most recently, it came in the form of two class sponsorships in one day – at $500 each – and the news that we are to receive a $2,500 grant from Jackson EMC. That’s 140 children sponsored in one day.

We have 261 sponsorships to go before December 31. Why December 31?

By mid-January, we need to have all of the books on hand that will go to students in May. That’s because it takes a herculean effort to get the books divided up evenly for each school, and boxed for delivery.

(Just think – we can’t send every copy of “Junie B. Jones” to Gaines Elementary, and all of our “Goosebumps” to Winterville Elementary, and give every “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” to Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary! So we will spend the spring divvying up and preparing books for delivery.)

If you’ve already given – thank you. You have no idea how much your contribution – no matter how small – will mean to a child this spring.

If you’re unable to make a donation, help us spread the word! Share this blog post with friends and family, with folks you know who care about reading and education. It takes just $25 to sponsor a child, or $500 to sponsor a whole classroom. We have 261 sponsors to go. It’s a [...]

By |December 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on One small step for BFK, one giant leap for the children we serve|

BIG progress – 3,153 down, just 546 to go

Today, we’re sharing some big news. A successful week – combined with the news that we have received a major grant – cut the number of un-sponsored children down the 546.

Just one week ago, we posted here about needing sponsors for 1,195 children.

We’re blown away by this outpouring of support for what Books for Keeps is doing. The grant we’ve received is specifically meant to fund our program expansion to Winterville Elementary School, one of two Athens schools we will serve for the first time in 2014.

It’s also the largest single grant ever received by Books for Keeps. Wow.

Add that to a stellar week for donations – we had a 24-hour challenge to meet a $1,500 match from an anonymous donor – and we are chugging along toward our goal. (We met the challenge, by the way – with just moments to spare on Friday afternoon!)

In 2014, we’ll distribute 45,000 books. To 3,700 children. In nine schools.

Can we do it?

If we keep up the pace, we can. But we have to keep up that pace.

We still need sponsors for 546 children, a little more than 26 classrooms. Considering how many children we’ll be serving in 2014, that’s a small number.

But it’s still significant. We’ve committed to provide 12 books each to those children. We can’t go back on our commitment.

So, it’s up to us to make sure we have the books we need. And we must have faith that our community – which continually blows us away with its support – will step up to that challenge.

It takes just $25 to sponsor a child, providing him or her with 12 books to read all summer. Businesses, extended families, church groups, or civic groups can [...]

By |December 10th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on BIG progress – 3,153 down, just 546 to go|

A small start + modest thinking = something HUGE

It helps to think back to how things began.

Like the excitement of falling in love, moving to a new place, starting a new job – remembering how things started often keeps us going. We push through the hard times, we find reasons to work even harder, we build on strong foundations.

Four-and-a-half years ago, the kernel of an idea was planted in Books for Keeps founder Melaney Smith’s brain. It took root, and through friends, community support, and a lot of hard work, that seed sprang forth into something remarkable.

And it grew. And it keeps growing. In 2014, Books for Keeps will distribute 45,000 books to 3,700 children at nine schools.

But this is how it all began. We’re sharing with you Melaney’s first-ever blog post, from our (recently-retired) Blogspot blog. It’s titled “How to Help a 2nd Grader,” and it’s the simple appeal for help that launched a grassroots movement that would, two years later, go on to provide nearly 80,000 books to children who might otherwise have none.

Help us keep growing to reach more children. Help us reach our goal of 45,000 books by Dec. 31. Sponsor a child… give a gift in someone’s name… hold a book drive… today. (Click any of the underlined links to learn more.)


But first, enjoy:
I need some serious help in the brain-power department right now. I have about 3 weeks to handle a problem that is keeping me awake at night. Here’s the story:

My niece mentors a 2nd grade girl who attends one of Athens’ public schools. Let’s call her Jane. Jane loves to read, but has no books at home. Jane loves to color, but has no crayons at home.

Jane has a good friend in class, [...]

By |December 2nd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A small start + modest thinking = something HUGE|