The good news: we’ve collected all the books we need for 3 of our 5 schools – twice as many books as we had this time last year!  The bad news: we still need books for the other 2 schools, and we need them by December 31st. 

Why so early?  Most of you probably remember the emergency book-scrambling we’ve done every year in March/April. We’ve always made it, even if at the very last minute.

But things are different this year. Sooooo different!

Last year, I was able to work full-time, 7 days a week on book drives, hauling, inspecting, sorting and boxing to get the last 12,000 books we needed.  This year, I have a paying job that demands 40 hours a week, so BFK can’t risk a last-minute emergency book shortage.

 Last year, Fire and Flavor tolerated our massive book-boxing effort that coincided with their busy season in March and April. We were in their way, but they made it work.  This year, we need to be out of the way by March 1st, to ensure we can stay in our donated space and not adversely impact their production.

It was a true miracle that we raised the last 12,000 books we needed last year, but think about it… it’s no way to guarantee that we keep our commitment to the 2,000 children attending the five schools we serve!  What happens to them if we don’t raise the books in time?

This year, Books for Keeps is doing things differently. We’re going to raise the books by December 31st.  This ensures we have the books we need for May 2013, and gives us an entire year to get the books for May 2014.

How????  We’re going to buy them.

I know, it sounds impossible. But it sounded impossible to go from 200 kids to 1,000 kids in 2010.  It sounded more impossible (and nearly was!) to go from 1,000 kids to 2,000 kids in 2012.  What can I say? We’re only covering schools where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced-price lunch; we’ve got a long way to go. I’m not ready to stop trying, and neither are Books for Keeps board members and supporters.

All it will take is $20,000 by December 31st.  I mentioned this to an experienced fundraiser and she thought I was kidding. But I’d rather try and fail than not try at all.

We’ll continue to have book drives, of course. They’re our lifeblood. But in the time we have left in 2012, we’re also going to try something new: fundraising.  So here goes:

I’ve secured discounts with several sources and will be able to purchase books for $1-$3 each. We have 2 schools left, with 845 students in 40 classes. Here’s how it breaks out:

$25 will cover 1 student.
$480 will cover 1 class.
$1,700 will cover all the classes in a single grade at 1 school.
$10,280 will cover an entire school.

Sponsor a class, and we’ll tell your story right here on our Web site.  Businesses… family members… tennis teams… book clubs… whatever group you belong to, take up a collection, sponsor a class, and send us your story!

I’m asking for a lot, but I’m not asking for myself. I’m asking for children who might not own a single book if not for our program. They’ll own 12 books each this May if we make our goal, and we’ll be on our way to ending summer slide in Athens.

Remember: Books for Keeps is a 100% volunteer organization and a 501(c)(3) public charity, so your tax-deductible donation will provide books that are given directly to children, for keeps. Send us a donation and we’ll use it to change a child’s future, 12 books at a time.

 845 students at $25 each… 40 classes at $480 each… 2 schools at $10,280 each.

We still need your books, and always will. But for now, a donation to cover one more more children is what we really need.  If you can’t donate, will you help us reach people who can?  Tell somebody.