All projects have been adapted due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions. The need for children is greater than ever: to have language and literacy materials on hand to not only increase experiences and exposure, but to strengthen human communication and interactions.
We are committed to continuing to find ways to deliver literacy materials to children safely.
The Original Pantry Project: Children and families visiting food pantries and other sites of assistance select a book bag and books for each child. The book bags contain a finger puppet, two blank create-your-own-story booklets, a pack of crayons, and a bookmark. With each visit, children select more books and writing materials to keep. The Original Pantry Project was PoWeR! Book Bags' very first program in 2016, and today has 14 participating sites.
School Book Give-Aways: We deliver boxes of brand new books to participating preschools and schools throughout the school year. Children are invited to select their 'new' book(s) to keep and read at home. At some point in the school year, the children also receive one book bag with writing materials and a puppet. It is our goal that every child in the participating schools receive at least six books during the school year.
WIC Literacy Support: Each year, we give a literacy bag with two books to children who receive WIC services at participating health departments, as well as two books during each of their subsequent visits. Depending on the number of visits, children may receive 6-10 books in one year.
Early Head Start Home Visiting Programs (0-3): We provide literacy bags and age-appropriate books for home educators to take into children's homes. The visiting professional uses the materials to model and scaffold interactions with families to support their interactions, stimulate language, and share reading techniques.
Summer PoWeR! Days: We host free summer literacy fairs at participating parks and beaches throughout the regions we serve in Lower Northwestern Michigan. Children that attend these literacy fairs are invited to listen to books read by librarians from participating libraries. Children are also invited to write stories and play literacy games. Finally, they fill book bags with as many books to take home as they desire. We give away thousands of books through this program, which has been ongoing and expanding since the summer of 2017!
Summer "Specials" (Camps and Other Events): We give books and book bags with literacy materials to kids at local camps and summer school programs. Our previous partners have included The Salvation Army Summer Camp programs in Traverse City and the Migrant camps/schools in Suttons Bay and Frankfort. We also give books away in Ludington during Friday Night Live. Children are invited to fill their bags with as many books as they can carry!
The Texas Relief Project: In October 2017, we sent over 2,200 book bags filled with literacy materials to three schools in Houston, Texas that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.