Last March Josephine Bolling McCall visited our church and told us about the book she had written about her father who was lynched in Lowndes County, Alabama because he had become such a prosperous businessman.
Our church responded to her visit by 32 members volunteering to participate in a Book Buddy program that would pair volunteers with children in the Lowndes County elementary schools to encourage them to read.
Students from each of the three elementary schools were matched with a volunteer Book Buddy who mails them one new book every month until the end of the school year. The Book Buddy follows up with the student by phone to discuss the book and see what type of book the child would like next. If the parents indicate there are brothers or sisters who would also like a Book Buddy, they are given a Book Buddy as well. Mark Smith receives accolades for being the Book Buddy for three siblings!
As soon as parents approved their child’s participation in the program starting in November, the Book Buddy contacted the parent to make sure the address was correct and to see what type of book the child would like. The volunteer knew the reading level of the child so that books could be selected that would fit the child’s abilities. Before Christmas, 28 children in Lowndes County had a Book Buddy from Union Church and a book in the mail! Several Union Church volunteers are still waiting for their Book Buddy assignment. We hope they will be assigned during February.
Just last week one parent called the principal of her daughter’s school to rave about the wonderful Book Buddy. Lowndes Country has been especially hard hit by the pandemic which has made it more difficult for some families to respond to requests about receiving a book or joining the Book Buddy Program. Thanks to all our Union volunteers who are already providing such a wonderful resource to the kids of Lowndes County, and to those who are patiently waiting to start mailing books to their yet to be assigned Book Buddy. Please let me know if you are a Book Buddy and have not heard whether your Book Buddy is receiving their books. My new email address is: [email protected].