Love books? Then you should think about donating to these charities – LA Daily News
(Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
Imagine if you couldn’t read this sentence. (A third of Los Angeles residents are functionally illiterate.) Imagine if you’d never owned a book. (Two-thirds of low-income households in America have no books.)
Imagine if you’d never been given the gift of reading, a gift that studies show makes you sharper, less depressed, more empathetic and less stressed.
For those of us who love books and reading, it’s easy to think of them as necessities rather than the luxuries that they are for many people, especially children, who may lack the money, skills, access or support to buy books or be readers.
I recently visited Iceland, the country with the highest literacy rate in the world per capita.
Icelanders refer to the period between early September and mid-November as “Jolabokaflod” or the “Christmas Book Flood.” Buying books is a national tradition, and the majority of books are bought in Iceland during this time as everyone gives books for the holidays.
What if we started our own “book flood” tradition for strangers — children and teenagers in need. There are some great organizations in Southern California that provide books and reading to children and young people. During this season of thanks and giving, here are five of my favorite ways to help:
The Book Truck
Perfect for this era of food trucks, The Book Truck is a mobile library of thoughtfully curated books that travels all over Los Angeles bringing free books and reading excitement to underserved teens at schools, foster children events, and teen mentoring facilities. To help, you can donate books from their wish list or volunteer to sort books. (thebooktruck.org)
BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is the Screen Actors Guild’s children’s literacy program. BookPALS read to more than 60,000 children in Title I public schools, hospitals, libraries and social service agencies every month. Join the final days of their 2015 Read to Me literacy initiative and accept the challenge to read to any child for 15 minutes a day for 21 days. (sagfoundation.org/childrens-literacy/about/)
The Book Foundation
A multifaceted literacy group dedicated to putting new books into the hands of low-income and underserved children through various programs such as a Foster Mother’s Day event, an annual holiday party, and a partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Donate as little as $25 to give 12 new books to these children. (thebookfoundation.org)
SoCal Library Literacy Network
Make it your new year’s resolution to help teach someone to read through your local library’s literacy volunteer program. (sclln.com)
Milk + Bookies
This nonprofit supplies all the tools you need to host a “book raiser” party. Guests bring books for those who can’t afford them. A great opportunity for children to get into the spirit of giving or a great idea for your holiday office party or tree trimming party this year. (milkandbookies.org)
Whether you donate money, books or time to these worthwhile organizations during our SoCal “book flood,” you’ll be helping not only give books but change young people’s lives.
Allison K Hill is president and chief executive officer of Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena and Book Soup in West Hollywood, and a contributor to The Huffington Post book section. Reach Hill through her website, www.AllisonKHill.com, or follow her at readingalovestory.tumblr.com.