Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Gift of Reading

As the Christmas shopping season begins to wind down, many of us have almost completed our purchasing and the gifts are beginning to stack up under the tree.  But there is still plenty of time to give to those in need, and as all of us know, books make the best presents.  Here are some ways that you can give the gift of reading to those in need this holiday season:

First Book: For 20 years, First Book has been giving books to existing programs that serve low-income families across the US and Canada.  More than 100 million new books have been distributed to children who may have never owned a book in their life.  You can help this organization by donating ($10 buys 4 new books) or volunteering with a local advisory board.  Check out First Book's website for more information. 

Local Toy Drives: When local organizations conduct toy drives (including Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army's Angel Tree) be sure to include a book.  I like to pick books that meant something to me as a child in hopes it will also mean something to them someday.

Give Through the Bookstore: I'm sure that most of us will be going to our local bookstore at least once this holiday season.  Many will have ways that you can help give books to people in your community.  My local store allowed you to purchase children's books which would then be given to children in our local hospital.  If they don't have a way to donate directly through the store, ask if they know of any book related charities in your area.

Donate to Your Local Library: Nobody gives book access to more people than local libraries.  Many libraries accept donations of gently used books that will either be placed on the shelves or used to raise funds through book sales.  Ask your librarian if there any particular books they could use. 

Give Straight to a Family: More than likely you or someone close to you knows of a family in need.  Sometimes the biggest impact is made when we give on a personal level.  You can help build up a local family's personal library and give them the joy of books.

 I know how much books mean to me, and I am so blessed to be able to own quite a few.  It's important for us to remember that not everyone is as lucky, and that we can give them a gift that will last a last forever...the gift of reading.  

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