On June 19th, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation facilitated the inaugural ‘Big Book Giveaway’. This semi-annual book distribution event supplied 25,000 books to 28 of the Foundation’s literacy and community non-profit partners. Thanks to helping hands from the Astros Foundation and Rockets Give Back, representatives from each recipient partner organization carefully selected books from a diverse list of classic and popular titles. When asked about her favorite part of book distribution events, Astros Foundation volunteer and former educator Juliana stated, “I think it’s wonderful that the titles are so current.” A spirit of volunteer enthusiasm was palpable in the Friends of the Houston Public Library warehouse, with many volunteers like Megan from Rockets Give Back exclaiming she “wasn’t expecting 25,000 books.” Volunteers were not only motivated by a passion for literacy, but also a realization that it is “time to give back” to children in our community.
Organization representatives were present to select books for implementation in their respective programs. Jill Gonzalez, executive director of Women’s Storybook Project of Texas, a non-profit devoted to connecting incarcerated women to their children through the power of literacy, proclaimed “children are unintended victims of the system. These books are going to make an impact on the mother who reads them to her child and the child who hears her read.” Other organizations present include Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, an organization dedicated to providing Houston’s underserved populations with access to high quality health care providers. Denise Snow and Jana Vanhoy represented the organization at the giveaway, revealing that the books would be distributed in pediatric clinic waiting rooms, where children would be able to take the titles home with them after their appointments to build their home libraries.
The success of the ‘Big Book Giveaway’ would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts between the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, literacy partners, and volunteers. Together, all entities strive to ensure that Mrs. Bush’s legacy as a champion of literacy lives on.