2016 Annual Conference Mission Project is to collect a "bazillion" new books for children

February 22, 2016

The 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference mission project is being led by the Conference Ministry with the Poor Operational Team. The team has created a project that will allow each North Alabama local church to make a difference in the lives of children in their local community—not just during the three days of Annual Conference, but year round!

The mission project is called the Bazillion Book Drive.

What is the Bazillion Book Drive?

Rev. Sally Allocca, Chair of Conference Bazillion Book Drive Planning Team explains, “The goal is to collect as many new children’s books as we can to be given to agencies, churches and other groups that work with children 3rd grade and younger who are in under-resourced communities or who are living below the poverty line.”

The Conference Bazillion Book Drive Planning Team has chosen this age range because statistics show that children who are not reading at grade level by the 3rd grade have little chance of graduating from high school. Additionally, statistics show that 80% of children in under-resourced communities are not reading at grade level.

Rev. Allocca adds, “What a great opportunity we have to make a difference in the lives of these children!”

How your congregation can participate

Churches will work together at the District level to collect new children's books and make connections with agencies and ministries in their local communities working with under-resourced children. A District Bazillion Book Drive Team will guide each District’s efforts in this project to make it best fit that District’s context.

Instead of filling the Von Braun Center in Huntsville with new children’s books during Annual Conference in June, the plan is for each District to hold a Bazillion Book Big Event prior to Annual Conference to sort the collected new books, celebrate this collection, and distribute the new books to the approved agencies and ministries in their area. These events will be recorded and the project celebrated during the North Alabama Annual Conference in Huntsville on June 5-7, 2016.

There is a Bazillion Book Drive Suggested Book List which has been compiled from suggestions from educators, reading specialists and agencies working with children in the North Alabama Conference area. Download this list to give members of your congregation ideas of titles to donate.

For more information about your District's Bazillion Book Drive Plans, contact your District Office.

Working with local ministries, agencies and organizations

Churches are encouraged to connect with current ministries, nonprofits, schools, libraries, daycare centers or other organizations working with children 3rd grade and younger who are in under-resourced communities or who are living below the poverty line and encourage those groups to apply to receive some of the new children's books collected by their District.

The application is online at www.umcna.org/bazillionbookapplication. Each District Bazillion Book Team will vet applications from their District and work with the approved organizations on fulfilling their new book requests.

Rev. Allocca says, "We know the new books will make a difference in the lives of children and their families. Additionally, we hope this project will give local churches an opportunity to further build relationships with under-resourced families in their community and will spark further mission engagement.

"Every child deserves a new book. We are excited about this opportunity to make a difference to under-resourced communities in the name of Jesus Christ."

For more information and resources

The site has information about the project, logos, communication helps, an event planning guide and more!

Stay up-to-date with project information and stories. Also, share your congregation's Bazillion Book Drive stories and pictures!

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