Books for Vulnerable Families

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and in so many different ways. As a charity, we have tried to help people in the ways that we can. A section of our community that we had not been able to reach was the children of vulnerable families. Home-schooling has been hard for children and their parents, but especially hard for those on low-income, and relying on the foodbank. We wanted to do a little something that would brighten their day in a small way.

Books are so important for so many people, and so many have relied on them through the lockdowns, but with the library closed, access to books for so many has been limited.

We were able to use money in our COVID-19 fund to buy over 200 books and arts and crafts supplies for the children of vulnerable families.

It was important for us for the books to be going first-hand to the children. Libraries are amazing but there is something special about owning a book that you love and being able to keep it to pass down to future generations.

This was an amazing project to be a part of. The love of books and making things that I developed as a child have led me to become the adult I am today. This is something that is easily over-looked when the priority, quite rightly, is on getting from day to day. Choosing the books was a wonderful opportunity to share some of my childhood favourites, as well as discover books that I wished would have been available when I was young.

When the books arrived, I had great fun looking through them all, and then sorting them into age groups for distribution at the food banks. Always wanting to join in, my cat “helped.”

We were able to get reading books, activity books, colouring books, school help books, and as many pompoms, chenille strands, foam stickers, and felt tip pens as possible. I wanted to focus on books that would get people reading and interested in learning, as once that thirst for knowledge starts, it is unquenchable. This included books for inspiring girls to become what ever they want to be, books about the world that surrounds us, wonderful classic stories, and even Horrible Science and Horrible History books, because any parent will tell you that the gory bits are the bits they remember the most.

Below is only some of what we were able to get:

The boxes of books and craft supplies were delivered to the Buckfastleigh and Ivybridge foodbanks in time for the half-term holidays, and I have already heard stories from the wonderful volunteers about how happy the families were with the inclusion of a book or two in their food parcels.

Revered Tom Benson of St Luke’s in Buckfastleigh where the foodbank is held said, “The craft resources and children’s books have been a great help to families that have sometimes struggled to keep their children engaged and occupied during this second lockdown. One parent described them as perfect for those long rainy afternoons.”

Below is a photo of some of the books being included in a food parcel:

Karen Fitzgerald, a volunteer at the foodbank in Ivybridge said: “The books have gone down really well. They have brought so much joy it’s heart-warming. For some children, to actually own a brand new book has been an unique experience. For those who collect their food parcels, they picked their own books and craft accessories. For those who need their parcels delivered, we phoned and asked what their children would like or needed. One of the most touching cases was a lady who has 3 autistic children and had really struggled to afford suitable reading material and found a number of appropriate books in the box, together with some learning resources and craft items. So far we have given out 51 books and 63 pieces of craft items. We will continue to give them out in the coming weeks.”

South Brent and District Caring’s hope is that this is not the end of this project and we will be able to carry on supporting families and the education of children in this way.