When you think of magazines and groceries, the first thing that might come to mind are those celebrities looking out at you from the magazine rack in the supermarket checkout line. Recently MagazineLiteracy.org has had a chance to put magazines and groceries together to feed children and families who are both hungry for food, and hungry to read.
MagazineLiteracy.org has been contacted by publishers who want to donate surplus children’s magazines to literacy programs. In a new program dubbed “KinderHarvest” we’ve begun to make connections between publishers and nearby food banks, food pantries, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and disaster relief programs. We envision magazines, which would otherwise be discarded or destroyed, bringing some real value and big smiles to children and families who would otherwise not have access to them. So, working together, we can feed lots of children hungry to read and succeed!
An example is the partnership between the wonderful, award-winning Moo-Cow Fan Club magazine and the New Hampshire Food Bank. Copies of Moo-Cow will be distributed by the food bank and participating food pantries throughout New Hampshire to hungry families in grocery bags and backpacks filled with food.
I’ve been conducting food drives for over 20 years now, so have worked with many food banks and food pantries over the years. In fact, I conceived the idea of a magazine-based literacy project for children when I realized that the hungry families we were feeding could not afford food, so certainly could not give magazines to their children.
The lessons we learn in life can often be applied well to other pursuits. Another program that matches the idea of a “food drive” to collecting magazines for children is our Kid’s Magazine Airlift. The Airlift works like a holiday food drive at a grocery store, but feeds kids hungry to read. Consumers shopping for gift magazine subscriptions at publisher web sites for their own children can also purchase a gift that will be sent to help other children. MagazineLiteracy.org matches the much-needed gift subscriptions to schools, shelters and other community literacy programs that serve children and families in need. So far, hundreds of magazine subscriptions have been made possible by combining the gifts of individual consumers into larger quantities needed to serve whole groups of children, for example in the wonderful College Mentors for Kids program and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast literally wiped out by hurricane Katrina.
Children’s magazines are a compelling reading resource for children – colorful, engaging, educational, and something they can call their own. KinderHarvest helps to put magazines into homes so children and families can read together.