On May 30-31, San Antonians will get a chance to be part of one of the most meaningful experiences in a young person’s life: receiving his or her first book.

First Book-San Antonio is calling for volunteers to help them get 40,000 books into the hands of children in need via Books on Wheels presented by H-E-B. The books will go out to local organizations serving low-income families with children whose lives will be deeply enriched by new books.

Kristen Depken of First Book-San Antonio
Kristen Depken of First Book-San Antonio

“We’re thrilled to be bringing 40,000 new books to San Antonio and have already heard from so many teachers about how excited they are to get books to their students. For some of these kids, the books they receive from this truckload will be the first books they’ve ever owned, and they’ll be getting them in time for summer reading, which is so crucial to preventing the summer slide,” said Kristen Depken, Co-chair of the Frist Books-San Antonio Advisory Board.

Many literacy experts agree that one of the best ways to increase literacy and educational outcomes is through access to books. It’s a simple solution, but a substantial challenge for families with limited income and transportation hurdles.

First Book is an international organization that provides free and inexpensive new books to families living at or below the poverty line. Local advisory boards connect to literacy initiatives, community organizations, and other non-profits with the shared goal of enriching children’s education.

Many of the children served by First Book have never owned a book of their own before. Photo by McGrath Photo, courtesy of First Book.
Many of the children served by First Book have never owned a book of their own before. Photo by McGrath Photo, courtesy of First Book.

In San Antonio, the advisory board consists of representatives from organizations such as United Way and Random House Children’s Books. These and organizations like them have the problem solving resources to bridge the gap between kids and books.

Now, they are inviting volunteers from the community to be part of that bridge.

“Each and every volunteer will have a hand in providing new books to children in need here in San Antonio, and we can’t wait to work with everyone who’s signed up to make such a positive impact on our community. It will be a fun and rewarding experience!” said Depken.

First Book-San Antonio seeks the following:

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and be able to work on their feet and do light lifting. The giveaway will take place at an H-E-B warehouse, so volunteers must be able to work outside. This opportunity is ideal for church groups, businesses or others who have volunteer hour goals to fulfill.

To sign up as an individual or group to volunteer, click here. For more information on this volunteer opportunity or First Book-San Antonio, please contact First Book-San Antonio at sanantonio_tx@firstbook.org.

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Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.