CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Children in one Camden neighborhood are once again able to grab a book and go, any time of the day. That’s thanks to some brotherly love.
Angel Jimenez of Camden believes in the power of books, especially for children.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police: 25-Year-Old Man Fatally Struck By Vehicle That Ran Red Light In East Falls
“Reading is very important for a lot of kids,” Jimenez said.
“He has a great deal of compassion for the neighbors here,” Tom Martin said.
Martin, started the Camden County Pop-up Library, giving books away on street corners and in soup kitchens. He also started the Book Ark Project. To Angel, the sturdy wooden box, hand-painted by high schooler Nina Tan, was just what the neighborhood needed.
“As soon as I got it, kids was coming from different directions to pick up a book,” Jimenez said.
“Kids pick up books out of there, 24-7, they don’t have to return them, they can keep whatever they want,” Martin said.
“It brings joy to me. It brings a lot of joy,” Jimenez said.
About a month ago, Jimenez came outside, and his book ark was gone.READ MORE: WATCH: Country Music Star Jimmie Allen Apologizes To Eagles Fans For Fishing With Cowboys' Dak Prescott
“Oh, it broke my heart. It broke my heart because the kids were really into coming and getting a book every day,” Jimenez said.
On Tuesday, salvation arrived.
“I’m a Noah. I’m a Noah,” John Martin said.
Jimenez’s “Noah” was John Martin — no relation to Tom. He’s a retired dentist who designed and built the book arks.
“It’s beautiful,” Jimenez said. “My kids around here is gonna love it.”
Jimenez’s new ark was hand-painted by Nina’s younger brother, Jeffrey Tan. John Martin added signage and a tall flag.
“It sends me to paradise. This is heaven,” Martin said. “This is the way life should be, spreading knowledge.”
Jimenez said he expects the books in his newly-stocked ark to disappear by the end of the day, which to him, is the point.
“Back in my day, when I was growing up, nobody did that,” Jimenez said. “Why not do it now for the kids these days coming up in Camden? Maybe this tradition can keep going.”MORE NEWS: Family, Friends Celebrate World War II Veteran's Birthday In Burlington County
If you would like to help with the Book Ark Project, click here.