Fifty Ways #18 — You Can Take That to the Bank

The Book Bank, that is.  There are now three Literacy Connexus Book Banks.  One in Montgomery County (First Baptist Church Conroe), one in Parker County (Center of Hope – combining resources of 58 churches and others), and one in Tarrant County (Western Hills Baptist Church).  There are 254 counties in Texas.  Be the church in your county to begin a Book Bank (251 openings by my count).

Connie

Think of a food bank.  Resources come in.  They are processed.  They are shared.  Everyone wins.  A book banks works in a similar way.  People donate books to the book bank.  Volunteers sort them.  Then the books are shared with those who lack books.  The three book banks mentioned above primarily receive gently used children’s books, screen and sort them, and send them out the door with churches that share them through family reading fairs or other activities.  By the thousands, these books have been shared in each noted county as well as in border communities in the Books for the Border and Beyond project.

However, not all the books are for children.  In the fall BNSF Railroad in Fort Worth, share the results of a book drive with Literacy Connexus and the Tarrant Literacy Coalition.  Recently volunteers sorted those books for three units of the Presbyterian Night Shelter (in Fort Worth):  the main facility, the section for veterans and the space for women and children.  Leslie Reisdorfer—member of Western Hills Baptist Church and employee of Meridian Bank—brought the books to the homeless shelters and shared a note from Harriet at Presbyterian Night Shelter.  She noted that walking through the main shelter people were already making use of the books and several residents expressed appreciation for new books to read.

Steps in beginning a book bank at your church.

1.  Meet with your church leadership:  staff, missions committee, librarian, etc.  Explain the concept.

2.  Find a room in your church facility that could serve as a book bank.  Shelves will be needed as well as a sorting area (at least one table).  Proximity to an exit on the first floor or near an elevator will be helpful.  Enlist volunteers to help prepare the room.

3.  Advertise the need for gently used children’s books (by far the most desired items).  See the Literacy Connexus website for a flyer to use http://www.literacyconnexus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Book-Donation-Guidelines.pdf.  You don’t want cast off books.  We’ve made quite a few trips to the recycle bin or Goodwill.  Use of this flyer will reduce that problem.

4.  Enlist a volunteer team to sort books.  Again, the Literacy Connexus website has guidelines for screening and sorting books.  See http://www.literacyconnexus.org/b4tb-resources/core-books/

Ashleigh and Kelsey

5.  A donor in your church may want to give you money to buy new books.  The Literacy Connexus website has suggestions for core books (See above).  Jo Lee of San Antonio persuaded the manager of a Half Price Books store in her city to donate several boxes of books. Promote the project, the books will come…

6.  Next the fun starts.  Share what you have received with others.  You may want to draft guidelines for this as in one book per child in the proposed project or giveaway. 

For additional help with setting up your book bank, please contact us at info@literacyconnexus.org (817 696-9898).  In addition, please share your progress with us.  We want to partner with you to provide books.

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Fifty Ways #46 — Register Voters – especially among young adults. Elected officials pay attention to voters.

Did you vote yesterday?

According to a report last year by Enrique Rangel, Texas ranked 42nd in voter registration, 49th in the number of citizens who contact public officials and 44th in the number of people who discuss politics a few times a week or more.

Did you vote yesterday?

Yesterday’s ballot not only gave voters a voice regarding the November ballot for elected officials but the opportunity to speak up regarding a variety of referendum items including immigration reform, religious freedom, increasing the minimum wage, the second amendment, expanding Medicaid, welfare reform, non-discrimination legislation, and the affordable care act.

Will you vote in November?

vote counts

Consider a project at your church to register voters.  It’s fairly simple.  Here’s a link to the online process:

You may fill out a voter registration application online, print it and mail it to the voter registrar in your county of residence.  You are not registered until you have filled out the online application, printed it, and mailed it to your local County Voter Registrar. The County Voter Registrar’s address can be found at the top of the online outputted voter registration application once you have submitted your information from the fill-in-the blanks screen.

Will your voice be heard in November?

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