2020 Summer Mission Project

Our congregation’s 2020 Summer Mission project supported Bernie’s Book Bank.  Through the PCWS book drive, we helped this vital organization process and distribute books to under-served infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout the Chicagoland area. Bernie’s distributes quality new and gently used children’s books to provide book ownership among children. 

We started our book drive during the ‘stay-in-place’ protocol, asking folks to check around their homes for gently used books that would be appropriate for children from birth through 6th grade reading level. The books could be fiction, non-fiction, chapter books, picture books and everything in between. Bernie’s doesn’t accept textbooks, dictionaries, coloring books or religious books. 

Bernie’s staff continued processing and distributing books to under-served children across the 6 counties in the northern half of Illinois during the pandemic. With the extended Stay-At-Home Order students faced the remainder of the school year at home. Many of these students didn’t have access to educational resources or age-appropriate books in their homes. This disruption inevitably widens the learning gap and leave students struggling to keep up with grade level expectation.

Elizabeth Blasko from Bernie’s Book Bank and Sarah Sullivan & Jessie Bozek from PCWS shared messages about the importance of Books for children and teens over the summer:

For many people, books have been an instrumental part of their life, or during these ‘stay in place’ days, books can provide an escape from the real world, teach new things or provide a well needed laugh!  

Research has shown some sobering facts about the importance of literacy:

  • In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
  • 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children.  
  • 61% of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children.  
  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. 
  • More than $2 billion is spent annually on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems. 

PCWS set an initial goal of 2,184 books! We quickly surpassed that goal so we doubled it to 4,368 books!  We achieved our second goal and more!!

Through the combined efforts of our congregation, members of the community, and monetary donations as of September 10th, we achieved an amazing 10,351 books for Bernie’s Book Bank. We were able to provide new and gently used fiction and non-fictions books, chapter books, picture books and everything in between during the summer of 2020!

An absolutely marvelous gift of books for Bernie’s Book Bank.  THANK YOU to everyone who helped spread the word, contributed books, collected books from friends & neighbors, and donated money!