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A literacy road warrior journeys down the last mile into reader’s hands

John Crouse is a literacy road warrior who won’t want this attention – but his example is too compelling not to tell the world.

Our mission at is simple – share our joy for the magazines and comics we love with at-risk readers who have little or no access to reading materials – Reading is Fundamental says that most poor families have zero books at home. Each night 30,000 moms and kids leave everything behind to seek safety in a domestic abuse shelter. There are 1 million homeless students in the U.S. alone, over 650,000 children in foster care, and over 130 million orphans, worldwide. Children in homes with no reading materials hear 30 million fewer words when their brains are developing for life – brain scientist and Dun & Bradstreet Vice Chairman Jeff Stibel says that the most significant brain growth happens before 8 years old. Adults unable to read where once children who didn’t learn how.

So we strive to meet the expert literacy goals of community agencies who can get periodicals into hands, homes, and hearts for good. We’ve learned on our journey that, with titles for every reading age, interest, and language, and scientific proof that reading comprehension thrives on printed words and images, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet. We are blessed with an endless stream of magazines from publishers and the consumers who love them – extending the life and value of each issue we get. However, as with the delivery of any needed product or service to individual people, we are faced with “the last mile” challenge – how to get the product down to the communities and into the agencies and hands of the at-risk readers who need them most.

Collecting, receiving, sorting, packaging, and delivering magazines and comics is hard labor and requires end-to-end logistics to get them from where they begin – whether that be a publisher’s or printer’s warehouse, or a consumer’s coffee table, or business newsstand – to where they need to go.

John Crouse is a man on a mission to make that happen for food banks, pediatric and youth programs, and United Way agencies across the entire Southern Tier of of Connecticut. It began with a phone call many years ago, and then the engagement of his daughter and family and friends who have gathered to collect, sort, and deliver magazines. He now drives repeatedly down Rt. 95 to our Trenton NJ warehouse to fill up vehicles with magazines for readers back home. He reminds us of Katie Simmons in Boston – “the magazine lady” who kept us all fired up delivering magazines to 20 shelters out of the trunk of her car, and so many others.

Here is the impact from just one of John’s roadtrips in his words:

Waterbury Youth Services is a community based agency who helps Waterbury CT’s youth learn the skills they need to be more successful at home, in school and in the community. Waterbury Youth Services provides programs in leadership, mentoring, afterschool programs and summer camps. They serve over 1,000 youth in Waterbury. Executive Director Kathi Crowe and Youth Development Team Leader Olivia Jefferson were happy to receive the kids magazines provided by this month and we look forward to supporting them in the future with additional magazine deliveries for the youth of Waterbury.

Reading is where the journey begins. Thank you John Crouse for blazing our trail and for changing the lives of those you meet along the way for good.

  • Adult Literacy Plus Of Southwest Arizona

    501(c)(3) Charity, School or Library, Adult Education, GED
    Yuma, AZ
    Serving a minimum of 150 students a month ranging in ages from 16 to 70 years old. Reading levels range from third grade to first-year college levels. However, the most common age of students is between 19 and 35.
    Needs: Approximately 150 magazines per month
    Magazines Requested: Magazines showing places, people, and animals around the world. Any magazines about hobbies or sports. Magazines that open students’ eyes to the world around them.

  • Maryland Correctional Institution–Jessup (MCIJ)

    School or Library
    Jessup, Maryland
    Serving male adults 18-60 years of age. From pre-literacy to varying reading levels.
    Needs magazines for 30 students monthly
    Magazines Requested: Students enjoy nonfiction magazines with lots of pictures and short articles–this would include magazines about animals, geography, science, food, clothing, anything relevant to today’s world. National Geographic for Kids would be wonderful.

  • CHEFS Homeless Job Training

    Homeless, Job Training
    40 men and women
    San Francisco, CA USA
    Needs: 40 Magazines
    Magazines Requested: Food Network magazine

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