PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Food Bank of South Jersey is getting some special deliveries meant to feed kids’ minds. It’s this week’s story of Brotherly Love.
“All right, here we go, book wealth,” Larry Abrams said.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone as enthusiastic about books as Abrams. The Lindenwold High School teacher founded BookSmiles about five years ago.
“What we do is we collect mountains of books, and we sort them and distribute them to children living in book deserts,” Abrams said.
Abrams and volunteers collect as many children’s books as they can. In normal times, with a $10 donation, teachers could take home as many used books as they wanted for their classrooms.
When COVID hit, the classrooms went online, but the books were still here.
“I needed to think and pivot,” Abrams said. “Where can I send tons and tons of books?”
The answer: Food Bank of South Jersey. They had trucks and infrastructure to distribute books to children, especially now. In some communities, one in four children are food insecure.
“We are going to take three loaded pallets,” Abrams said. “And they’re picking them up and they’re going to transfer them to the Food Bank and every month we transfer between three and four pallets.”
BookSmiles has given the Food Bank of South Jersey almost 30,000 books since February.
“The book donation from BookSmiles means the world to children that we serve,” Marie Alonso with Food Bank of South Jersey Communications and Community Impact said.
“Partnering with people helps us grow and helps us irrigate book deserts,” Abrams said.
And fight hunger too.
“Irrigate food deserts, irrigate book deserts,” Abrams said.