Since my students got books from [the Children’s Book Project], something is happening I’ve never seen before. They’re so excited about the books—we’re on Zoom and they share what they’re reading and talk about their favorite series with one another. I just sit back and say, “Wow.” Some of these kids have lost mom or dad to COVID. One girl said that when she’s reading, she can go somewhere else in her mind. Thank you.
A year ago today, San Francisco announced stay-at-home orders. We emerge undaunted and energized by what we’ve accomplished for the children who need us now more than ever:
- We closed to the public and pivoted operations overnight to an entirely new delivery model with just 2 part-time staff to collect, count, sort, select, and deliver books through the end of 2020.
- From March 17–December 31st, we gave away over 41,000 books to children at meal distribution centers, public housing, Boys and Girls Clubs, Head Start programs, shelters, public health clinics, learning hubs, and many other organizations serving disadvantaged communities in 15 Northern and Central California counties.
- Remarkably, we managed this without our usual 100 hours a month of volunteer help or open hours for clients and donors.
- In November 2020, we successfully relocated across town to the Bayview District of San Francisco, while keeping curbside delivery for clients going through the end of the year.
- In January 2021, we added 5 days a month at our beautiful new Book Bank to serve clients and curbside donors by appointment, limiting capacity while accommodating demand safely during the pandemic.
- We’ve already given away over 18,000 books so far this year to clients serving low-income children in Title 1 schools, organizations mentioned above, and many more.
- We’ve processed over 32,000 new and gently used books so far in 2021 donated by individuals (including those from our curated Bookshop and Amazon wishlists), businesses, publishers, authors, and book drives.
- We welcomed back new and veteran volunteers in the middle of February 2021 to help us count and sort book donations, and stock our shelves for easy browsing.
The joy of being able to work directly (at a safe physical distance and masked!) with our clients, book donors, and volunteers at the Book Bank gives us a tremendous lift and rewards our dedication to service.