But seriously, where did that month go?

It seems like it was just last week that we were celebrating the triumph of meeting our year-end fundraising goal, and also learning that we would need to find new warehouse space in the first quarter of this year.

OK, so maybe we’ve been a little busy. Our last post was January 13, about our need for new warehouse space. We have a lot of really great friends and supporters working to help us resolve this need – unfortunately, we have little else to update. We are continuing to talk to anyone who will listen to our needs, especially those folks who might know someone (who knows someone who knows someone).

If you missed it, here’s our press release about the issue, and a fantastic article the Athens Banner-Herald ran informing the community about our situation.

FF logoWe continue to be grateful to Fire and Flavor for the two-and-a-half years they have given us of rent-free storage and operations space for our books. They are also doing what they can to help us find a new home, and we will forever be appreciative of their generosity.

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Are you Smarter than an Athens Grade-Schooler?

Well, are you?

It’s a question we’re excited to ask for the first time, as we launch this inaugural event on March 22. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Athens, and will feature teams of adults competing against teams of students from the schools we serve.

We’re recruiting teams now, working directly with the schools and reaching out to members of the business community to see who feels secure enough that they’ve retained that all-important grade-school knowledge. Check out our event page on our website and on Facebook. Ticket sales will start soon – don’t delay your purchase, because seating is limited!

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Coming this March – Book Drive Month!

BFK Book Drive flyerOur last Book Drive Month in October brought in roughly 5,600 books.

If you missed it, or that month just wasn’t a good one for you, your business, or your church to sponsor a drive – please consider hosting one during March!

We can make it super easy for you, by providing you with flyers, signs, or even bins to collect books. It’s as simple as placing a collection bin or box in a break room, waiting area, or entry way and just letting folks know it’s there.

Books for Keeps needs new or like-new children’s books for our program, but all other books (adult books or children’s books that aren’t in good enough shape) will go to our sale where they make money to help us buy more great books!

We’ll be thrilled no matter how many books your drive collects. Past participants have collected as few as 20 books, and as many as 2,400! Email Leslie about hosting a drive.

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Boxing for distributions

This year is a busy time of year regardless of launching new events, holding book drives, or trying to find new warehouse space. That’s because it’s prime time to prepare for May distributions to the students we serve.

We’ve completed the final purchases of books we need – which means we have about 52,000 distribution-worthy books in inventory in our warehouse. Yowsa!  (And, it’s thanks to the folks who donated money or books in 2013, helping us reach our year-end goal.)

book boxingSo, now comes the time when we must box all of those beautiful books up to take to the children we serve. We need the months between January and the end of April to do this because, well, 52,000 books is a lot of books, and there is just one staff member at BFK.

That means we rely on volunteers to help. It’s a little painstaking, but it’s all in the name of getting the best possible variety to each and every classroom at distributions. We can’t send all of the “Captain Underpants” to one school, and all of the “Fashion Kitty” to another school, and all of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” to yet another school.

Volunteers help us unpack pallets of inventoried books, lay the books out on tables, and scoop up a good variety of each book to pack into each box. That way, we can make sure each school gets a great assortment of “Fashion Kitty,” “Captain Underpants,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

boxing palletsWhile we’ve made tons of progress to date, with 4th-5th grade books almost completely packed and ready to go, we have much more to do. We particularly need help on weekdays. So, if you have availability to volunteer on weekdays, please email Leslie so she can add you to an email list. Each week, she emails her weekday volunteers with a schedule of upcoming warehouse work days. You can sign up for days that match your schedule, and volunteer as little or as often as you like.

We’ll keep letting everyone know how this is going, and give updates on all of the other exciting things happening at BFK. We’re preparing to reach nearly double the number of students we served one year ago. It’s remarkable stuff, but it means we have a lot of work ahead of us!