The Northwest District opened the doors of a borrowed warehouse in Rogersville on June 25 for their first Bazillion Book Drive Big Event. Five tractor trailer loads of children's reading and learning materials were donated to the Bazillion Book Drive, and the Northwest District Operational Team immediately began to plan distribution.
"Seventeen organizations, representing thousands of foster children, outreach efforts, tutoring ministries, United Way agencies, the American Baseball Foundation, United Methodist Children’s Home and local churches, picked up carloads and truckloads of books donated to the Bazillion Book Drive, even with such short notice," according to Rev. Kelly Clem, District Superintendent.
A Small Church with Big Hearts
Cameron United Methodist Church in the Northeast District eagerly rounded up a group in several vehicles. Rev. Mary Scales said that while they are a church with small average worship attendance, they have a strong desire to help the kids in the neighborhood. When she mentioned the idea of her church participating in the Bazillion Book Drive earlier this year, their small church collected more than $800 and distributed 183 books to two elementary schools nearby.
"Reading is the key to everything," said Tommy Gibson, Administrative Council Chair. "When I was young, I didn’t find reading interesting, but now that I love reading, I read all the time. Reading sticks with you.”
All of the participants from Cameron UMC were thinking of schools and organizations beyond the two they have already begun to share with, including area Boys and Girls’ clubs, to distribute their truck and carloads of books.
"You helped keep our program alive. Thank you!"
Reach Out and Read Alabama was one of the nonprofit agencies to make the trek to Rogersville, and they were grateful to have learned of the opportunity. The Reach Out and Read program serves children from birth to age five all over the state of Alabama by providing new books to patients at pediatric clinics at every well child visit. In northwest Alabama, the agency was on the verge of stopping the program because of budget constraints.
"Since 2008 and the economic downturn, we have had increasing difficulty getting grant money to buy books," said Grant Allen, who traveled to Rogersville to pick up books for the organization. "Congress cut off support for the national program. Our patients and parents look forward to their book at checkups but we were at the point of closing the program—literally down to $6.93 in the book fund. This gift of 2,000 books helps keep our program alive." The group was able to get enough books to last almost six months. Allen welcomes the opportunity to partner with local churches in the area. In Florence, the two sites are located at Infants' and Children's Clinics at 421 West College and 1605 Mockingbird Court.
"My wife said last night the Lord provides," Allen said. "This could keep us going!"
Books Still Available
The third Northwest District Bazillion Book Drive book giveaway is scheduled for Saturday, August 6, from 9 a.m.-noon, at the PFI Warehouse, 175 Hooie Lane in Rogersville. Books will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Click here to request an updated list of available books and reserve books before Thursday, August 4.
Most of the available books are loose sets, meaning they are not boxed. You should bring some boxes to package your books. After August 6, the warehouse will no longer be available and leftover books will be returned to the donor. Please share this opportunity with any agency that might be interested.