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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Summer is here, and we are READY.

By Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director

Summer is here.

Never before have these three words felt so — well, scary.

Our country, our community, and our souls are hurting.  And children in our midst are soldiering through a marathon of isolation and learning disruptions whose impacts may be felt for the rest of their lives.

At this stark time, I remind myself that we do what we can.

Here at Book Harvest, here is what we can do: we can double down on our commitment to providing books to children and families.

On June 1, we launched our 2020 Rapid Response Summer Strategy – opening the doors of a temporary 6,000 square foot Rapid Response Center adjacent to our headquarters at Rockwood Shopping Center in Durham.

Though not open to the public, this Center provides staff and volunteers with a safe space to receive and prepare books. In collaboration with Durham’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Durham Public Schools, First Book, United Way of the Greater Triangle, and others, we will ensure the safe and plentiful provision of books to local children all summer long. 

This is urgent. The summer learning loss that threatens students’ progress in a normal year is supersized now. As Club Boulevard Elementary School Assistant Principal Greg Mitchell told us last week,

COVID-related school and library closures have made the imperative to get books into the hands of kids across Durham more important than ever.

And as a mom of an eight-year-old boy recently reminded me,

We both can go wherever we like in the world just by reading books. 

THIS is our time to step up and do everything we can to keep learning alive. The endless summer that began in March and the digital divide that blocks many of our students from remote learning conspire to wreak havoc with our children’s academic progress, not to mention their social and emotional well-being. We can’t let that happen.

Since Book Harvest’s launch in 2011, we have provided more than 1.3 million books to North Carolina children. Now more than ever, we are committed to ensuring that every child has bountiful access to books to keep learning alive. Our ambitious Rapid Response goal is to provide 75,000 books to Durham children by the end of August.

You can learn more about our Rapid Response Summer Strategy here, including a new partnership with Durham Public Schools to bundle books with food provision – an effort we call Well Fed, Well Read.

Summer is here. Book Harvest is READY.

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