A few weekends ago, my friends and I volunteered at Schoolhouse Supplies (Portland, OR) and helped at a project called Books to Kids. We have the most amazing book store in Portland, Powells, and every month, Powells donates 4 million books to Schoolhouse Supplies. I'm just estimating...but it seemed like 4 million. The books are all sorted, shelved and then local teachers can come through and pick out a number of books for their classrooms or for particular kids. It's a great recycling program. And this is only a success because of the wonderful donors (like Powells) and via the hard work one Saturday a month by a group of volunteers. Like us!
The books come in boxes that weigh more than any non-Bruce Banner-human can even push over. It's just FULL of books, kids books, text books, adult stories, language books, teaching guides, parenting books, etc. The day we went, there were about 4 of these enormous boxes of books donated - which the group of 10-12 of us had to sort and shelf.
Someone actually had to crawl up into the box when it started to get about halfway empty because we could no longer easily bend over and reach to pull them out. I wanted to take a picture of her but she looked a bit grumpy and not everyone loves to have their picture taken while bending over in a large box.
We each grabbed a stack of books and then sorted them via some very vague guidelines about which grade they would be in. My friend Alison and I didn't necessarily agree with the guidelines - because we know better than the "professional" book sorters.And I have a child and Alison is barely old enough to not be called a child, so we believed ourselves to be experts. Anyway...so you grab a big handful from the grumpy bent over lady and then you drop them in the shopping cart, which are all labeled with grade levels.
Most of the shelves are easy and you just put all the books on the shelves. However, someone must have noticed that Alison and I are Book Experts, because we were given the harder section to shelf: The Teachers Resource Section. Where we had to actually think about what category each book would go into, science, teaching materials, geography, etc....We did a lot of staring at shelves. And debating on where certain books would go. And whining to each other about how hard it is. And how stupid some books are. It was a lot of fun. It was an honor to be entrusted with this important job!
During the event, volunteers are challenged to pick out a book or two that they think is the funniest - like a funny title or a funny cover. At the end of the event, we all come together and the staff member on hand holds them up and we all laugh or groan and she picks the one she thinks is the funniest. The winner receives a t-shirt....Alison and I didn't find anything really hilarious so we didn't win, but we were winners anyway because we woke up early on a Saturday and dedicated our morning to a great cause! (and I already happen to have that t-shirt so it wasn't a big loss for me!)
Teachers should not have to spend their own money to do their job - I never have to buy my own work supplies to be successful in my job, do you? No, of course not. Unless you are a teacher. And then you do.Unless you live in the Portland area, and then you don't have to!
What’s the average value of items that each teacher leaves with after shopping in the Free Store?
Insane, right?? That's awesome for our teachers to have this resource!
Here are their facts: