By Madison Lewis and Mia Colloredo-Mansfeld
It is important for kids to get an early start learning to read, but that can be hard without easy access to books. Book Harvest is a local non-profit that tries to remedy this issue. Since 2011, the organization has distributed more than 300,000 books to families in need. East’s Book Harvest club works to collect books for the organization.
“The main goal is to help kids from low income families build home libraries [to help] them get ahead in school,” said junior Susannah Lohmann, president of the Book Harvest club at East.
The organization works with other local nonprofits to achieve its goal. With the help of PORCH, a grassroots effort out of Chapel Hill that delivers food donations to families in need, Book Harvest can serve a greater area.
“[Book Harvest] is partnered with PORCH, so every time PORCH distributes their food, Book Harvest distributes their books,” said junior Simone Speizer, a member of Book Harvest.
The Book Harvest club participates in a variety of book drives and events, including Trick-or-Treat for Literacy, where members of the club ask for books instead of candy on Halloween and a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Book sort called the Dream Big Book Drive.
“There is this big book sort on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that the whole Book Harvest organization in Chapel Hill does where everyone gets together, and the goal is to collect 10,000 books,” Lohmann said. “People [organize] various book drives across the area.”
The book drive, an annual event held in the Carolina Theater in Durham, was a big success, with Book Harvest collecting 22,703 books. The event was widely attended with over 200 volunteers showing up to help. Because of Book Harvest’s local focus, volunteers can experience firsthand the difference they make.
“[Book Harvest is] a good local organization with a really specific focus, [so] you [feel] like you [can] make a difference,” Speizer said.