Holy Family Episcopal Church, located in Laurel Springs, hit it out of the park! We just picked up a hefty donation of 1,030 books. Many kids in SJ who have few to no books will now have them! Thanks for being such an inspiration, Holy Family. Imagine how many books could have a new life in other children's hands if more houses of worship did what is recounted below by Cathy Brakin, the member who spearheaded the drive:
"Holy Family Episcopal Church is a merger of two smaller congregations. Back in the spring, our ECW (Episcopal Church Women) group met and discussed how we wanted to take on a service project as a newly-formed entity. Our wish was to benefit the nearby community. Lindenwold was mentioned. I asked my friend and Lindenwold school board member, Jo-Ann Engels, what needs exist in that community. She told me about BookSmiles. I checked out the website and videos and presented it to the ECW. They enjoyed the videos of Mr. Abrams and his pop up book fairs. We decided to make BookSmiles our mission for the summer.
I was skeptical about how many books we could collect since we are are very small parish with a majority of older folks. How many would still have children’s books at home? Slowly but surely the books started piling up. One parishioner, Annmarie Cranford, organized a book drive at her place of employment, Martin Law, in Center City. Books were brought in by members of a painting class that meets at the parish hall. Families in our “Messy Church” intergenerational ministry carried in bags and boxes of pre-loved books.
A sorting and packing session was held one afternoon in late August. As we separated the volumes according to age level, it turned into a party. Those titles brought back sweet memories. We reminisced about books we loved as kids as well as those we read to our own children. “Goodnight Moon is my favorite!” “Madeline - what a classic!” “I want to re-read the entire Nancy Drew series.” All told, we had collected over 1,000 books.
We pray that these books will inspire a lifelong love of reading."