If the answer is “Why, yes, I would,” then this is the thread for you.
Quick note: I checked with the Powers That Be before posting this, to make sure it was copacetic. They said I could, so here we are.
As many of you know, my wife (the lovely and talented Aries28) has volunteered with a literacy program, Better Basics, for the past few years. She goes to an inner-city school in Birmingham, Alabama once a week during the school year and reads to the kids. She also gives them books to read; if they read X number of books and do book reports, they get prizes (books of their own, candy bars, T-shirts, etc.).
Many Dopers in the past have become “Book Fairies” for some of these kids – sending them books on subjects in which the child is interested, small tokens or prizes that are specific to the Doper’s geographic area, stuff like that. The kids have been amazed – not only that someone cares about them, but that someone they never met would care enough to send them a book or a trinket. It’s truly humbling to see the reactions of these children to this outpouring of caring and support. In a few instances, a child has asked my wife to send his or her Book Fairy a small thank-you gift, and handed over a much-worn and -loved Beanie Baby toy from McDonald’s, or a three-inch-tall action figure. These kids have almost nothing – they live in government housing in one of the worst areas in Birmingham, they see drug use and violence on an almost daily basis, and some of them don’t always have enough to eat. For them to want to give back to people who have sent books or prizes has touched me deeply.
Anyway, Aries28 got an e-mail from the administrator of the Better Basics program. They had received a shipment of 8,000 books on Friday, May 6. These books were going to be the “prize” books to begin the 2005-06 school year – books given to children who had reached certain reading goals. Sometime during that weekend, their office was burgled, and all 8,000 books were stolen. Why someone would do this, I dunno. It’s not like you can sell these things for a great profit. The police are investigating, but no arrests have been made yet.
So Better Basics is asking for help in replacing these books. If you would like to donate some children’s books, or would like to make a small monetary donation, please contact Aries28 at email@example.com. If you want to send money (tax-deductible, even!), she can give you information on how to do that. Every dollar donated will allow Better Basics to purchase two to three books. If you want to send some children’s books (new, used, doesn’t matter), she can tell you the best way to get them to the program.
Thanks in advance to those of you who are willing to help. You’ll be heroes to these kids and the people who are trying to help them.