Jun 22, 2010

Book People II

We made known last week about our enthusiasm concerning our group of FUMC, Arlington library patrons that we call the “Book People” (Adult Library Committee: Verna Brown, Mitzi Busick, Ann Watley, and Rita Martin). Using great enterprise and common sense, they launched a “Go the Second Mile” mission project that was a venture of just the sort I hoped would come about when our church first launched the “One Mile Mission” last year. They called their project: The Book Carnival.

As I wrote last week in the e-mail blast and on my blog, it all started when these four book lovers accepted the “Going the Second Mile” challenge. In the January the group decided to put books into the hands of our neighborhood children. Having books available for summer reading would enhance literacy and delight many children.

Then the idea really exploded. Rev. Kay Lancaster further proposed that we invite our faith community to contribute new or gently used children’s books. Several young children designed posters asking for wider assistance. The artists could see their posters placed around the church. Four book baskets were ready to receive contributions. Church leadership offered a date: 29 May 2010 at the Center Street Activities Building. Yet, not a lot happened in terms of help. We told each other not to be discouraged. People were busy with Easter.

Meanwhile, local churches, the Arlington Friends of the Library, and Half Price Books held special sales. We were their best customers. “The Book People and Associates” circumnavigated the two mile radius around the church’s altar and found many needy places for books and the people to read them. We decided that free books might not be the best or only enticement for the neighborhood to come to FUMC, Arlington. We added free food—we could surely use some of the monies for snacks. And, then, thanks to Mitzi’s idea we added Supper Kits for families who attended the Book Carnival.

How to get the word out to the community? We designed lawn signs and flyers. We posted updates were posted around the church regarding The Book Carnival. Books were stacked in the baskets. People were getting excited!!!

“The Book People and Associates” wrote letters to area elementary schools, Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Night Shelter, and called the Women’s Shelter telling them about this event—The Book Carnival. We sorted books. Young children drew pictures for book plates that announced the book as a gift from First United Methodist Church of Arlington, Texas.

In early May, during a “One Mile Mission” Minute (or two!) “The Book People and Associates” shared a progress report with the faith community. We had just over 1000 books. We had snacks. We had books still coming in. We had people asking to volunteer. We had financial contributions from Sunday School Classes and individuals. Volunteers helped classify books by age-reading ability. Amazing Grace and teen groups placed book plates in books. Volunteers distributed flyers, placed lawn signs, walked the streets and talked with folks about the event. We were now ready for the big day . . . but more about that next week!

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