Books for Keeps blog

Bargain-hunting for a cause

Love shopping a good yard sale? Love giving to charity? Wish you could do both at the same time?

Wish no longer!

This Saturday, October 25, a few local families will be hosting yard sales to benefit Books for Keeps. They will be selling off their unwanted items and donating a portion of all proceeds back to Books for Keeps. It’s as simple as that.

This is the first year for this fundraiser, so we have just a couple of yard sales signed up. They will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following addresses:

125 Wilcox Street, Athens
270 Brookwood Drive, Athens
295 Pebble Creek Drive, Athens

Out of town? Otherwise engaged? No problem! We are inviting folks to use our Facebook event page as a marketplace. Feel free to post items there for sale or peruse the items listed to sell.  List anything you wish to sell there through the end of October and follow up by sending BFK a portion of your sale (suggested 20%).

Instructions for Sellers on Facebook:

Please add only one photo per item to keep photo and description linked. You can continue to add different “views” by uploading photos to the comments under the photo.
Please delete items after they sell, or write the word SOLD in the comments section under your photo. Next, just remit your percentage of your sale to BFK either online or via check. Info on how to send us your donation can be found here at our website.

Feel good about the fact that you just lightened the load at your home and supported BFK!

Instructions for Buyers on Facebook:

Send a private message to the seller to arrange a meeting to exchange money for goods. Enjoy your purchase and [...]

By |October 21st, 2014|How You Can Help|Comments Off on Bargain-hunting for a cause|

October Book Drive Month is here!

If you haven’t signed up to host a book drive, it’s not too late!

Hosting a book drive is an easy two-step process:

Place an empty box in your garage or your workplace’s lobby.
Email your co-workers, neighbors, family and friends and let them you’re hosting a book drive for Books for Keeps!

That’s it!

Simple, right?! By hosting a book drive, you’ll help us reach an audience that we’ve never reached before, and it’s a great way for people to do a little spring cleaning in October.

If you, your business, your church, or a civic group you belong to would like to host a book drive, please email Merryn at merrynwalker@yahoo.com to sign up and to receive an electronic copy of book drive poster sign!

*****

While we’re on the topic, we wanted to say THANK YOU to the groups that are currently hosting a book drive for us. We appreciate you!

If you would rather donate books instead, here are the groups that already have book drives underway:

Alpha Beta Gamma-Chi Zeta Chapter at Athens Technical College
Avid Book Club
Beta Club – North Oconee High School
Central Clarke High School
Classic City Lions Club
Delta Zeta
House Electric
The University of Georgia School of Law
Learning Ally
Phi Mu
Phi Sigma Pi
Pi Beta Phi – Alpha Chapter
Total Training Center
Diane K.

 

By |October 9th, 2014|Drop-off Locations, How You Can Help|Comments Off on October Book Drive Month is here!|

Class Sponsor Spotlight: Classic City Orthodontics and Athens Lions Club

This is part of a series of blog posts profiling the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
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As a returning class sponsor, Classic City Orthodontics holds a special place in the collective heart of Books for Keeps. When our nonprofit was still young and proving itself in the Athens Community, Dr. Tradd Harter and his practice demonstrated that they believed in what Books for Keeps was trying to build.

Dr. Harter’s practice was also one of the first local businesses to host a book drive benefiting Books for Keeps. Classic City Orthodontics now holds a drive every fall. It has become so much a part of their routine that they remind patients to bring books to donate when making appointment confirmation phone calls.

Classic City Orthodontics does an amazing thing by sponsoring a classroom, ensuring every child in that class will go home with 12 books and a tote bag to carry them. But, the book drives hosted by Classic City Orthodontics are perhaps just as astounding. In the fall of 2013, at both their Athens and Watkinsville locations, Dr. Harter’s practice collected 900 children’s books to benefit Books for Keeps!

Thank you Dr. Harter and staff for your dedication to Books for Keeps!
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The Athens Lions Club is a first-time class sponsor this year, and we are so very happy to have them on board!

As with so many of our wonderful sponsors, the Lions Club’s commitment to Books for Keeps started with [...]

By |August 21st, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor Spotlight: Classic City Orthodontics and Athens Lions Club|

Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: The Network for Public Education

This is part of a series of blog posts profiling the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
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The Network for Public Education signed on as one of our first-ever Grade-Level sponsors, and the fit is so appropriate. This advocacy group was formed to fight on behalf of the public school system in the United States.

The mission, according to the nonprofit’s website is: “to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, and share information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education.”

Thank you to the Network for Public Education for bringing this support to Books for Keeps!

By |August 18th, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight|Comments Off on Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: The Network for Public Education|

Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: Elks Lodge #790

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will profile the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
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The Athens Elks Lodge #790 made the increased commitment to become a grade-level sponsor in 2014 after sponsoring a class in 2013 – but this civic group and nonprofit is so much more than a monetary sponsor to Books for Keeps.

Members from the Elks have donated books for our annual BFK Book Sale, our biggest fundraiser of the year (including a whole trailer-load of books just in time for this year’s sale!) They have loaned tables to Books for Keeps for the annual sale, and returned to shop the sale, as well. And they have brought their support full-circle by volunteering at book distributions – most recently at Fowler Drive Elementary School in May of this year.

This full complement of support to Books for Keeps – as book donor, as monetary supporter, as volunteer force – is a rare and beautiful thing, and it speaks volumes to the Elks’ commitment to the community where they live. It’s also an active testament to their motto, Elks Care, Elks Share.

Books for Keeps thanks the Athens Elk Lodge for caring about our mission and the kids we serve – and sharing so selflessly with our organization.

By |August 18th, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight|Comments Off on Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: Elks Lodge #790|

The Inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale!

Get ready clean out your garage or storage closet because the inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale is just around the corner! You can get rid of unwanted items, make a profit, and support Books for Keeps all at the same time!

On October 25, 2014, Books for Keeps is inviting you to participate in this unique first-time fundraiser. We are hoping you will host a yard sale and donate a percentage of the profits to support summer reading by students from low-income families. The best thing about it is that it’s not limited to folks in Athens, Atlanta or even Georgia- you can host a yard sale anywhere!

Here is how it works in three easy steps:

First, let everyone know about your yard sale.  It can be as simple as spreading the word about your yard sale with signs, emails, text messages and flyers to your family, co-workers and neighbors. Sign up to host your yard sale benefit and we’ll provide you with flyers, signs and email language to help you promote your yard sale.

Ready to sign up already? Email Kim Klonowski to get on our list early!

Second, SELL! Deliver a solid sales pitch and remind customers that you are doing good deed by donating a percentage of your proceeds to Books for Keeps.

Finally, divvy up the profits. You will keep a majority of your yard sale income, and we will ask that you donate a small percentage of the profits to Books for Keeps.

You can either donate the amount on our website or mail a check to Books for Keeps, P.O. Box 49761, Athens, GA  30604.

Although October 25 may seem far from now, it is never too early to begin planning and spreading the word via email to your neighborhood [...]

By |June 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale!|

Newly updated book wish list!

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers during book distributions this past April and May, we have a newly updated book wish list for our elementary students! Please visit our wish list page for the complete list of book titles covering elementary through high school.

After compiling results of exit surveys from each of the 10 elementary schools we serve, we found the following books to be the most requested for next year.  As you can imagine with 3,700 students, the number of requests was large! This information could not have been compiled without a large number of volunteers assisting at distributions and recording each student’s comments.

Graphic novels such as Amulet and BONE are increasingly popular and the latest edition to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is always a favorite among our students.

New to our wish list this year is Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby Doo, Pokémon, the Pete the Cat series and the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. At book distributions, there were plenty of students asking for those books and the available copies always left the book tables – quickly. However, Minecraft, Hello Kitty, 39 Clues, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shake It Up are the most surprising additions to our wish list. We plan to have more of those books for next year’s distribution!

We are always looking for gently used or new copies of the books on our wish list. If you do not have any of these books, you can make a monetary donation to help us buy books – we are able to get great discounts through publishers, nonprofits, and other clearinghouses.

And remember – we will take donated books of all kinds! Any book that is not [...]

By |June 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Newly updated book wish list!|

What a wild and wonderful spring!

It’s hard to believe this post is coming less than one month after book distributions began.

It seems like we blinked and they were over – that magical period of two-and-a-half weeks in which we gave away 45,000 books to 3,700 students at 10 elementary schools.

It was, by turns, exhilarating and exhausting, joyful and humbling. It was a reminder of how crazy we are for doing what we do in a matter of just a few weeks — and it was a reminder that it is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding endeavors of which many of our volunteers, board members, and (tiny) staff have ever been a part.

We nearly doubled our program reach this year – to 3,700 students from 2,000 the year prior. We added five new schools: Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, Winterville Elementary and Downtown Academy in Athens; Paul E. Dunbar Elementary in Atlanta; and M.E. Freeman Elementary in Warrenton.

These additional schools were a huge stretch for us — in terms of fundraising, in terms of logistics (just getting the books to the out-of-town schools was a major challenge), and in terms of staffing. But it was really remarkable to serve new schools for the first time in three years.

In many of our existing schools, the students are totally familiar with Books for Keeps. It’s a good thing. They start asking in August when Books for Keeps is coming back (and we love hearing that from media specialists). But, it also means that there’s no sense of delighted surprise when we tell them they will take home 12 books — by this point, many of the older students can recite exactly how a distribution works. And children can be spectacularly blunt: “We still only [...]

By |May 22nd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What a wild and wonderful spring!|

Distribution time is here at last!

For 50 weeks, we’ve collected, inspected, sorted and boxed books. Now comes the fun part – we’ll spend two-and-a-half weeks this spring giving them all away!

Join us as we help children select and count their books and record their feedback on our book selection. The one word that seems to best describe the experience:  JOY.

No special skills are required; training is provided in the first 10 minutes of each shift – so the most important requirement is to show up on time! Sign up for a shift at handsonnortheastgeorgia.org.

If you are part of a group that would like to adopt an entire shift, please email Leslie Hale to sign them up: leslie.hale@booksforkeeps.org.
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ALPS ROAD ELEMENTARY
Monday, April 28 – 8:05-11:05 a.m. and 11:55-2:30 p.m. (all shifts full)


FOWLER DRIVE ELEMENTARY
Tuesday, April 29 – 7:45 a.m.-12 p.m. and 12:10-2:30 p.m. (p.m. shift full)


DUNBAR ELEMENTARY – ATLANTA
Wednesday, April 30 – 7:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. (p.m. shift full)


J.J. HARRIS ELEMENTARY
Thursday, May 1 – 7:45-11:25 a.m. and 11:40 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (p.m. shift full)
Friday, May 2 – 8:05-10:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.-1 p.m. (p.m. shift full)


OGLETHORPE AVENUE ELEMENTARY
Monday, May 5 – 7:45-11:05 a.m. and 12-2:15 p.m.
Tuesday, May 6 – 7:45-11:30 a.m.


GAINES ELEMENTARY
Wednesday, May 7 – 7:45-11:15 a.m. and 11:50 a.m.-2 p.m. (p.m. shift full)
Thursday, May 8 – 7:45-10:50 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.-2:10 p.m.


FREEMAN ELEMENTARY – WARRENTON, GA
Friday, May 9 – 8:25-11:45 a.m. and 11:50 to 3:10 p.m.


DOWNTOWN ACADEMY
Monday, May 12 – 12:45-1:50 p.m.


WINTERVILLE ELEMENTARY
Tuesday, May 13 – 7:45-11:05 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


STROUD ELEMENTARY
Wednesday, May 14 – 7:45-11:30 a.m. and 11:35 a.m.-2:50 p.m. (p.m. shift full)

By |April 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Distribution time is here at last!|

Book Drive Month is back, baby!

We’re going at a terrific pace in the BFK warehouse, getting thousands of books ready to distribute to the children we serve. To date, volunteers have helped box 35,000 books for May distributions – and we have about 18,000 to go. Wow!

With all of that activity, you’d think we wouldn’t be bringing additional books into the warehouse right now. Think again! As soon as distributions are over, we must start preparing for next year!

That means fund-raising, buying new books, and finding donated books.

That’s why our March Book Drive Month is so important! Bringing in new donated books helps us accomplish all three goals. Book Drive Month is under way, but it’s not too late to host your own book drive – so read on!

First, and most obviously, Book Drive Month brings donated books to our program. Used books will find a new home and a new life in the hands of children who might not otherwise own a single book. And the donated books that do not go to our program – because they are adult titles or because they are too old or worn – will go to our book sale.

The BFK Book Sale, held in August, is our biggest annual fundraiser. It raised $20,000 in 2013, money that supports our efforts to buy books for children in Athens and beyond.

Hosting a book drive allows participants to gather new books from our wish list, as well as the donation of used books for both our program and our book sale. It’s a great way to encourage friends and co-workers to clean out home libraries in the name of fostering literacy in their own community.
How it works
It can be as simple as [...]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Book Drive Month is back, baby!|