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It’s time to harvest magazines to feed kids and families hungry to read

by John Mennell

I recently visited the Field of Dreams in Iowa and stood at the far edge of the outfield where it meets the corn ready to harvest.

The harvest season is upon us – when farmers reap what they have sown and families pick apples and navigate corn mazes.  We kicked-off our September literacy celebration on International Literacy Day and our anniversary (9/8) and will continue on through Children’s Magazine Month in October and the holiday giving season through the end of the year with our own Magazine Harvest.  This is an ambitious nationwide undertaking to locate, collect, and deliver magazines from throughout the magazine publishing supply chain – from printer through newsstand and consumer – to at-risk children and families via food bank and food pantry warehouses.  As with any bountiful harvest, this one begins with planting seeds:

On Long Island, Greg Barber, a long-time environmentalist and champion of our literacy work and founder with his son Neil of the Neil’s Wheels hunger relief program introduced us to Noelle Campbell – Executive Director of the The Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center food pantry.  The organization provides emergency food assistance to those in need in the Wyandanch area of Long Island and neighboring communities. The pantry is one of the largest food pantries of its kind on Long Island–providing assistance to an average of 15,000 men, women and children each year.

Greg and Noelle

In Madison, Wisconsin, where we are setting up a global operations center, we are actively reaching out to the hunger relief providers and have already partnered with two organizations to distribute gently read recycled magazines from consumers, businesses, and publishers:

The Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin provided food via its network of food pantries to 68,726 people who made 824,712 visits last year.

The River Food Pantry feeds 600+ Dane County families per week providing hot meals, groceries, clothing, and household items to over 27,000 with over 74,000 individuals, each year.

Our partnerships with food distribution partners expand and increase our effectiveness and efficiency distributing valuable reading materials to meet community literacy objectives. Access to the food bank distribution network via participating agencies is a game changer as the most direct and comprehensive method for getting magazines into the hands and homes of at-risk readers who have too few reading materials.

Why Food Banks?

Supplying magazines via food banks increases delivery efficiency with many parallels to food delivery:

Why Magazines are Special for Literacy

Magazines are an especially powerful reading resource for children, families, and literacy programs:

Starbucks Magazine CollectionJoin us to plant and grow the seeds of Magazine Harvest in your community.  Let us know about the magazines that you love to read and want to share with others.  What’s your role in the magazine supply chain?  Help us to change the world – one magazine at a time!

  • Wave City Care: Shine Program

    501(c)(3) charity
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Serving: Girls in from grades 5th through 12th
    Needs: 50 magazines per month, year round
    Magazines Requested: Girls teen, Career, National Geographic, Fashion, Home, Family, Women, Seventeen, Redbook, Teen Vogue, Self, Good Housekeeping, Home Journal, Ellle, Homes & Garden

  • Hathaway-Sycamores’ Family Resource Center

    501(c)(3) Charity, Family Resource Center
    160 bilingual children per month ranging from a 1st to 6th grade reading level
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Needs: 160 magazines
    Magazines Requested: any nature magazines, any sports magazines, any leadership magazines, any education magazines, any travel magazines and any appropriate entertainment magazines.

  • Loogootee Elementary

    Loogootee, IN
    Serving male and female students from kindergarten to third grade.
    Needs: Enough magazines for 1-20 low level readers and 1-20 medium level readers from the months of August through June.

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