We hope that your holidays were amazing and that your new year is off to a good start. 2018 is behind us and Land of Lincoln Bookshare finished it with our busiest month to date. Things have been so crazy that we haven’t posted in a while so we thought we better send you an update.
In the months of November and December we gave away more books than we ever thought would be possible. We attended two holiday events, the Family Fun Fest Holiday Arts & Crafts vendor show and Southeast High School Holiday Bazaar. Both events were wonderful. We gave out books, met some great people and received some generous book donations. We even got to hang out with some celebrities!
We spent the evening of December 7th at Lewis Memorial Christian Village giving out books to the residents. The staff were excited about our mission and consulted with us to make it a success. It was a wonderful experience. Tina and I had so much fun talking to everyone and helping them pick out books and restocking their library. We cannot wait to go back.
In 2017 we hosted one elementary school book fair, this year we expanded to two schools, Ball Charter and DuBois. Our commitment to them was one book for every student, kindergarten thru 5th grade. We were overjoyed to have the opportunity to reach so many students, but that meant we needed over 800 books. 800 BOOKS! There were definitely a few moments of panic and doubt. Just a year ago we didn’t have 800 books total, we would never have been able to meet that kind of demand. Now, with your amazing support, we were able to give hundreds of kids the gift of a book at Christmas.
To round out the month, we spent December 23rd at the St. John’s Breadline. We are at Breadline on the last Sunday of every month, but we rescheduled so we could be there before Christmas. We brought our books for all ages, but for Christmas we wanted to be able to offer something extra. So we put together little gift bags for the children. Just little things like stickers, a coloring book, crayons and snacks, but hopefully they made someone’s holiday a little brighter.
Our family and friends made these possible. They not only provided the funds, but went out of their way to make sure we had a Christmas coloring books for every child. The generosity and holiday spirit were humbling. We had coloring books sent from Decatur and a box full of crayons from the Quad Cities. In fact, they were so generous that we had more coloring books and crayons than we could distribute. That allowed us to share the wealth with The Washington Street Mission and Asbury’s Children’s Supper Hour. To everyone involved, We love you!
Looking back its hard to believe how much we managed to accomplish in our first full year of existence. There was a lot more hard work and heavy lifting than we anticipated, but the rewards have been worth the muscle aches. The biggest takeaway from this year was that this is legitimately a community effort. Tina and Tiffany may be the names on the paperwork, but getting to this point has taken many more people. Our families (who have put up with having their time and vehicles hijacked for the cause*), the donors (without whom we would have nothing to give away), the Collection Sites (who continue to support us even when their lobbies are full of boxes), the event organizers (who allowed us to participate even when they couldn’t understand why we weren’t selling anything), and the innumerable people who have offered words of encouragement, support and concerns about our “poor business model”. Thank you so much to each and every one of you!
We cannot wait to see what 2019 will bring.
Tiffany and Tina
*Tina’s husband, Brian, refers to this as being volun-told instead of volunteered. 🙂