Books for Keeps blog

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.)

~Leslie

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|

We need your help to reach our goal of 45,000 books

It’s that time of year again.

Our elves have been busy in the workshop (i.e.: the warehouse) getting ready for our version of Christmas: those May distributions are what we spend all year working toward.

Serving 3,700 children in grades K-5 means we will give out 45,000 books through our main program in 2014.

But this is also the time of year where we have to look at our inventory, our available funds, and see where we fall short.

We still need sponsors for 1,195 children. It takes just $25 to provide books and a tote bag to a child, keeping them stocked with books all summer.

Will you step up and help?

There are many ways to give. Via our donate page, you can:

Give in a loved one’s name. Tell us in the memo who you’re honoring, and we’ll email you a certificate to print and stuff in their stocking!
Adopt a classroom with friends, family, coworkers, a church group, or on behalf of a business.
Make a recurring pledge that renews every month for a whole year.

Sponsoring an entire classroom takes just $500. It’s a great opportunity for a business to make an impact in the community, for a church group to band together, for old friends to give back, or for an extended family to engage together in charitable giving.

What we need is pretty straightforward – it’s the funds to be able to reach the children in our program who don’t yet have sponsors. At just $25 a child, it’s manageable. It’s a trip for two people to the movies. It’s a dinner out. It’s a brand new hardback book we might buy for ourselves.

What these children get out of their 12 books is rich and complex. [...]

By |November 25th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on We need your help to reach our goal of 45,000 books|

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for "Wimpy Kid" fans)

It’s that time of year, when all of the good little boys and girls count the days until he arrives.Think we’re talking about Santa? No way.In November, Greg Heffley returns in the eighth installment of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” entitled “Hard Luck.”We need your help bringing this book to the fourth- and fifth-graders we serve. It’s one of the most requested books, and one of the least donated.We have more than 300 currently in stock, which is great – but it still is not enough.In order to have enough books from this series for each child in the higher grades to pick out one, we need another 588 books from across this series.We are fortunate enough to have access to paperbacks of this highly popular, highly demanded book for just $3.05, available once the book is released in November.But, because we always have to be careful about our per-book cost, this great price is still too much without additional fundraising. Will you contribute to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Fund and help us provide one of the most popular contemporary books to the fourth- and fifth-graders we serve?Your contribution will go a long way! Just $3.05 buys one book. Make a donation of $30.50 or more in someone’s name, and we’ll email you a certificate you can print at home to recognize them.When you make a donation by clicking the PayPal link at the right-hand side of the page, make sure to include a note with your payment identifying in whose honor you have made your donation.

By |October 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for "Wimpy Kid" fans)|

Book Drive month – updated locations and great progress!

We’re getting tons of fun updates from our book drive site hosts already, just a week into the month.We’ve also had a handful of additional book drive hosts sign up since we last posted, and wanted to say “thank you” to our updated list of hosts, plus let you know where you can drop your books off.We also have a couple of September book drives wrapping up that we wanted to let you know about. Our friends from Alpha Beta Gamma at Athens Technical College collected five boxes of books that they brought on a volunteer day at our warehouse two weekends ago. Fantastic!Classic City Orthodontics continues to rake in hundreds of great used books from their patients and families.One of their last boxes of donations had multiple gently used “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books. (Leslie is going to pick up more books from their Watkinsville location today!)The perennial Book Drive Month aces at Avid Bookshop have been updating us, and their Young Readers club is in the lead of the four-way “Smack-down” competition between the shop’s book clubs. The Young Readers led with 120 books collected, as of Monday, Oct. 7, leaving the other teams in a distant tie for second. Great job, Young Readers!We got a fantastic piece of news over the weekend when we learned that Avid’s publisher rep with Southern Territory Association was having 32 pounds of books shipped to Avid as a donation toward their BFK Book Drive. What a wonderful surprise!Meanwhile, our friends at the Atlanta offices of URS Corporation are having spooky fun with their drive, making it part of their office’s Halloween decorations. We understand they’ve already collected lots of books!Thank you to all of [...]

By |October 8th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Book Drive month – updated locations and great progress!|

Book Drive Month – it’s not too late to host your own BFK book drive!

Book Drive Month is officially here!To truly have a successful Book Drive Month, we need additional hosts and locations for book drives!Can you help, or do you know someone who can? It’s a fun, easy way to help Books for Keeps!Hosting a book drive can be as simple as placing a box in your garage or the lobby of your workplace, then emailing folks to let them know it’s there. You’ll help us reach people we’ve never reached before, and it’s a fantastic way for people to clean off their bookshelves.If you, your business, your church, or a civic group you belong to would like to host a book drive, please email Leslie at leslie.hale@booksforkeeps.org.***** While we’re at it, we wanted to say THANK YOU to the groups that already have book drives under way during October:• Turner & Patat PC• Total Training Center• Sigma Nu fraternity, Georgia Southern University• The Omni Club of Athens (east and west locations)• The Master of Public Administration program at UGA (hosting a friendly competition between departments in the School of Public and International Affairs)• Leon Farmer & Company• Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful• Avid Book Shop (hosting a competition between four book clubs to see who can collect the most books)• Allergy Partners of Georgia

By |October 2nd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Book Drive Month – it’s not too late to host your own BFK book drive!|

Buy a scoop, support BFK

We know you probably didn’t look out your window at the rain this morning and think, “Man, I could really go for some ICE CREAM today!”But, tonight, there’s a fun opportunity to support Books for Keeps, while getting your Chunky Monkey quota. Ben & Jerry’s in downtown Athens (105 College Avenue) is hosting a percentage night tonight, on behalf of Books for Keeps.They’ll be donating 20 percent of their proceeds between 6 and 8 p.m. to BFK.So come on down and buy a scoop. Supporting a local charity never tasted so good.

By |September 25th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Buy a scoop, support BFK|

Young people, little gestures, and the big difference they can make

Every once in a while, we are reminded that what we do is only a very small part of a larger, and incredibly inspiring community. We see an act of selflessness that stops us in our tracks and makes us feel a little awestruck.This week, after putting out a call for sponsors of Melaney’s upcoming Thrift Store Tour, we got an email.More specifically, we got an email from Abby, a 12-year-old who is donating $85 to sponsor a stop. What made this email even more special is knowing that this is part of a larger effort by Abby. She wants to support literacy in her community as part of a project for Girl Scouts, and created a little business to raise the funds she needs.Plus, Abby is going to meet Melaney to help shop for books at the thrift store stop she is sponsoring. We love connecting with our supporters over books!Keep up the great work, Abby – and thanks for your support!***** We still have stops that need sponsors. Check out the list here, or email Melaney: melaney@booksforkeeps.org.It’s a simple, yet powerful way to support Books for Keeps. Rather than buying brand new books with this money, we are able to go find gently-loved, like-new books for our program. They are often hard-to-find books like “Captain Underpants” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” that, with a little time and effort, can be unearthed at our local thrift stores.Click the “Donate” button at the upper-right corner of this Web page to make a donation. And thank you!

By |September 19th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Young people, little gestures, and the big difference they can make|

Announcing… The 2013 Thrift Store Tour!

9/17 Update: Atlanta and Athens stops scheduled for October 1-2, and we still need sponsors!Last summer, Melaney embarked on a thrift store tour of the southeast, in the month or so before she went back to work full time.  She covered parts of four states, with each stop sponsored by a different Books for Keeps supporter.In some cases, the sponsors met Melaney at the stores they sponsored, and helped her shop! Last year’s  tour generated 1,935 books for $1,606. This year, Melaney is returning to the stores where we got the biggest bang for our buck. All we need now are sponsors!Will you sponsor a stop, or donate funds to help cover a portion of the larger ones? Here’s how. We’ve included the purchase amount at each stop last year as a guideline, and we’ve added a couple of new stops. Leg # 2 – Atlanta Road TripGoodwill Sandy Springs ($60) – Sponsored! Lori H, AtlantaGoodwill Buckhead ($60) Goodwill Perimeter ($80) – Sponsored! Lori H, AtlantaGoodwill Midtown ($160) – Sponsored! Leigh S, AtlantaGoodwill Johns Creek ($85) – Sponsored! Abby BGoodwill Lawrenceville ($90) – Sponsored! Kay H, GermanyLeg # 2 – Athens Area Goodwill Athens – Huntington Road  ($85)Goodwill Athens – Gaines School Road (New! Estimated at $50)Goodwill  Winder ($110)Leg # 2 – Macon Area We can’t schedule this stop without sponsors…Goodwill “Goodreads Bookstore” ($205) Special Opportunity*: Gottwals Used Books ($480)The stops will be scheduled as they are sponsored, so please consider making a donation today.  We’ll share pictures, tweets, and stories along the way.  Click here for details on how to sponsor a stop – it’s as easy as clicking “Donate.”If you’re interested in meeting Melaney at a stop, contact [...]

By |September 17th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Announcing… The 2013 Thrift Store Tour!|

Thank you to the supporters getting a head start on Book Drive Month!

We’ve already given you the run-down of Book Drive Month in October, and how you can help.We have a handful of intrepid supporters who are getting a head start, and we wanted to say “thank you,” and let you know about their drives.Each fall, Dr. Tradd Harter and the staff at Classic City Orthodontics host a drive on our behalf during the month of September. They even use their appointment reminders to remind folks to bring donated books to their appointments.If you’re a patient, or have a child who is, please consider donating any used books or new children’s books to Classic City Orthodontics this month. Both locations, in Athens and Watkinsville, have collection bins. They have been long-time supporters of our program, and we are grateful!Also this month, Alpha Beta Gamma at Athens Technical College is collecting books in multiple locations around campus.Alpha Beta Gamma has been a reliable source of volunteers and support at Books for Keeps. In fact, they will be helping at a volunteer day in the warehouse later this month!If you work at or attend Athens Tech, or even if it’s just convenient to where you live or work, you can donate books in buildings A, B, H, and the Library.Thanks, Classic City Orthodontics and Athens Tech! Your support sets a great example for the rest of our community!

By |September 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Thank you to the supporters getting a head start on Book Drive Month!|