10.23.2013

On great progress and big steps – and the help we need to reach the finish line

It’s been a while since we posted any updates.

That’s because we’ve been busy little bees.

It’s the time of year when we have to take careful stock of the books we have on hand so we know where to fill in the gaps leading up to May distributions.

Here’s the bottom line: we’re in great shape with books on hand and ability to purchase what we need before the end of the year. But we have a ways to go – read on to learn how you can help.

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Our initial estimates about one month ago were that we have 20,000 distribution-ready books in the warehouse, and after several weeks of doing inventory – much of it with the help of awesome volunteers – we have more than 13,000 books officially logged into inventory.

Knowing what is left to inspect, we believe we are well on our way to logging the estimated books into inventory in the next month or so. That means those 20,000 books will have been inspected, placed in the right age category, counted, and are ready to box up in the spring before delivery to schools.

Combined with the money we have in the bank, and more books being purchased on deep discount every day – think $0.35 to $2 per book – we are feeling really good.

(To give you a glimpse of what our book acquisition looks like: Leslie just placed an order with Scholastic today, and it’s her biggest order yet: more than 2,000 books for $3,307! Meanwhile, we were notified by First Book, the national nonprofit, that we’ll be receiving 3,058 books from their most recent distribution, for just the cost of shipping – a mere $1987.70, or $.65 a book!)

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But we still have a long way to go. We have many grant applications pending to help cover the cost reaching two additional Athens schools (plus two schools outside Athens for the first time). While we are confident that many of these applications will be successful, we need the community’s support to help cover the children and the classrooms still in need of sponsorship.

We still have 1,577 children in need of sponsors – out of the nearly 4,000 we will be serving in 2014. Just $25 sponsors a child and ensures he or she has great books to read all summer long. It takes $500 to sponsor an entire classroom. It’s a great way for a business to give back to the community, or for a group of individuals to mark a life-long friendship in a meaningful way.

As you make plans for giving this holiday season, and you wonder how and where your dollars can be put to use most effectively, please consider giving to Books for Keeps. Your dollars go directly toward buying books for children who might not otherwise own a single book.

Keep checking back for updates on how we are proceeding toward our goal of getting a sponsor for every single child we serve in 2014! We will post regularly to update everyone on our progress.

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