A New Home for Old Books

Amy Beal

As a kid, there was nothing more exciting than getting the mail. “Anything for me, anything for me, anything for me?” I’d ask my dad at least 12 times during the short ride home from the post office. Usually not. And yet that fact never seemed to diminish my enthusiasm. As an adult, you’d think the reality of bills arriving would make getting the mail less exciting, but, well, I’m the same adult who lights up at the simple thought of frosting—the pinker the better. So it’s really no surprise that one of the things I enjoy most at the office is getting the mail. Each day here brings all kinds of new packages, new bulky envelopes just waiting to be discovered. You’d think that the reality of having to then figure out what to do with the hundreds of opened boxes full of books, snacks, cleaning products, toothbrushes, lotions, girdles (don’t ask), and toys we’re sent would diminish my enthusiasm, but, well, frosting. Enough said. Any yet while still exciting, the mail at KIWI does present a new challenge. Until now. A few months ago I blogged about The Giving Effect, a website created to bring people and the stuff they don’t need together with nonprofits who need stuff. And recently, after eyeing the mountain of books we’d accumulated in the office, I gave the The Giving Effect a whirl. I typed in our zip code, narrowed the search to organizations who could pick up, and poof—there was a post by the South Bronx United Soccer Club, a nonprofit that uses soccer as a way to help kids build character, life skills, and leadership abilities. And they needed books for their very first Literacy Day. After a couple of emails with the soccer club’s Executive Director Andrew So, arrangements were made for Andrew to come to KIWI with an SUV and haul off 10 boxes of books. As simple as that. During Literacy Day on May 21st, hundreds of South Bronx kids took part in a day of reading, playing, and getting to take home free books. Andrew says of Literacy Day: “South Bronx United distributed over 500 free books to children and parents…I was amazed at how fast the books were gone. It just shows that parents and children are starving for good reading materials.” A truly successful venture in every way:

  1. Some deserving kids got to take new books home.
  2. KIWI’s staff members no longer have to trip over stacks of books on the way to the bathroom (for now, anyway).
  3. I got to try out The Giving Effect and now feel confident about being able to place all the items we don’t need, except for maybe the girdles (don’t ask).
  4. Having met the challenge of the opened packages, I’m now free to once again fully enjoy the excitement of getting the mail.

A win-win all around.

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