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Volunteering at The Children’s Book Bank (NE Portland)
Searching for an outing that keeps the kiddos entertained and encourages compassion at the same time? Plan an afternoon as a family or with friends volunteering at The Children’s Book Bank in Northeast Portland.
Look around your house. Look in the kids’ rooms and under their beds. How many books do your children own? The average middle class household owns 13 children’s books. Are you well above average?
For those living in poverty, the ratio of books to children is 1 book per 300 kids. The Children’s Book Bank’s mission attempts to raise that ratio. By collecting donated new and gently loved books, they distribute reading material to Head Start Preschools and Title 1 schools around the Portland Metro area.
The book bank’s work area is a small room located inside a bigger warehouse at 1728 NE Glisan. Parking is plentiful and located directly in front of the entrance.
Entering the small space, you will find books lining the walls from floor to ceiling. Bins in the center of the room are used for sorting the titles by subject and empty backpacks sit on the floor waiting to be filled with reading gifts for a child. Two long tables are set with the supplies necessary for the book work that needs to be done.
New volunteers and children are the first point of contact for every donated book. Little ones erase pencil marks and give used books a shiny sheen with the swipe of a cleaning cloth. Older kids mend page tears and broken book spines or gently scrape off sticky labels with Goo Gone. Parents work along side their kids and know they are teaching a valuable lesson in serving others.
A friend and I recently took our daughters to spend an evening at The Children’s Book Bank. The girls took their jobs seriously, each item handled with love. The time flew by and we were all disappointed when the two hour session was finished.
When asked what their favorite part of the evening was, they all responded, “We liked cleaning the books and knowing they were going to children that didn’t have any.”
My friend’s reflections proved more contemplative:
“The best/toughest part for me was realizing how few books children of low income families have. I think of the huge amount of books my children have, many that we have never even read. Books have always been a source of pleasure and escape, transporting me into another world. For a child not to have that luxury breaks my heart.”
Setting up a volunteer time for your family is easy. The Children’s Book Bank uses the Hands On Greater Portland website to schedule small groups. You will need to register on the website, locate “The Children’s Book Bank” under Volunteer Opportunities and then pick a date to help.
Have a group of eight or more? Contact The Children’s Book Bank directly and they will find a time for your crew to volunteer together.
THINGS TO KNOW:
- Restrooms are not on site. The closest restrooms are 2 blocks away.
- There are 3 stairs leading to the entrance of the work area. There is no ramp.
- Age Requirement: Children 6 and up are welcome to volunteer. Special family sessions allow children 4 and up. Contact The Children’s Book Bank for details.
Whatever time you and your kids can spend at The Children’s Book Bank will directly benefit another child in our community. Sometimes finding things to do around town can be as simple as lending a helping hand.
Andee Zomerman lives with her husband and two daughters in the Bethany neighborhood of NW Portland. She is using this year to focus on volunteering in the community and writes about her experiences on her blog, Nature of a Servant.
Ready to discover (or re-discover) Portland? From the coast to the Gorge, from Clark County to Salem, The Ultimate Guide to Portland Family Fun will allow you to experience the awesomeness this area has to offer!
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