Dear Grace Episcopal Church Members,
Thank you very much for graciously allowing us to serve children and families with you at your food pantry. We are grateful that you’ve welcomed us into your world! While you are feeding the children’s bodies, our hope is to also feed their minds.
We are PoWeR! Book Bags, a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization whose goal is to bring literacy to children in need. P is for play, W is for write, and R is for Read. By encouraging children to play, write, and read, we assist children in reaching new heights. Our mission is two-fold: to increase the number of literacy experiences children have and to expand the quantity of books that they own. Both are based on research that shows a strong correlation between time spent talking, reading, and writing; the number of books a child owns and one’s overall life success.
Children with more do better. They perform better academically, have more friends and better social relationships, and are more likely to graduate from high school and contribute positively to society. Those with less literacy experiences and little to no books are most likely to have difficulty in school both academically and socially, drop out of school, and have a difficult time as adults. When children come to the pantry, they select a hand-crafted book bag containing writing supplies (and as a recent recipient added, LOVE!). The children then select a few books to go into their bag. Each time they return to the pantry, they select more books and writing supplies.
What can you do to help? First, pray for the people receiving the bags. Second, you could join us. We need people to sew bags. We also could use volunteers to help create our writing booklets, tie ownership tags to bags, fill crayon bags, and stuff bags. Finally, as we distribute new and very gently used books, we could use donations. Grace Church has kindly offered to host a donation bin in the Parish Hall where you can leave books for the program. We serve all children, birth through high school.
We are most excited to be adding Grace Episcopal Church as one of our local pantry sites. We began in March of 2016. Since then, we have distributed over 11,000 books and 3,000 book bags to children in northwestern Michigan. From the reactions of families and those that work in the pantries, we know we are making a difference. Visit us on Facebook (powerbookbags) or on the web at www.powerbookbags.com to learn more and explore the ways that you’d like to become involved!
Kara Gregory and The PoWeR! Book Bags Team
P.S. And did you hear? We were the happy recipients of a $250 grant from the Order of the Daughters of the King, Province V, for which we are quite grateful!