The Original Pantry Project: Children and families visiting food pantries and other sites of assistance select a book bag and books for each child. The book bags contain a finger puppet, two blank create-your-own-story booklets, a pack of crayons, a bookmark, and a welcome card. With each visit, children select more books and writing materials to keep. The Original Pantry Project was PoWeR! Book Bags' very first program in 2016, and today has 19 participating sites.
Summer PoWeR! Days: We host free summer literacy fairs at participating parks and beaches throughout the regions we serve in Lower Northwestern Michigan. Children that attend these literacy fairs are invited to listen to books read by librarians from participating libraries. Children are also invited to write stories and play literacy games. Finally, they fill book bags with as many books to take home as they desire. We give away thousands of books through this program, which has been ongoing and expanding since the summer of 2017!
School Vacation Book Give-Aways: We go to participating schools and set up a free book fair before each school vacation. Children come and select their 'new' book to keep and read throughout their vacation. At some point in the school year, the children also receive at least one book bag with writing materials and a puppet. It is our goal that every child in the participating schools receive six books during the school year: one before Thanksgiving, two for Winter Break, one for Spring Break, and two for Summer Break.
Books on the Bus: Through Books on the Bus, the kids riding the buses to Suttons Bay schools have access to PoWeR! Book Bags. Children select books to add to their personal libraries either on their way onto or off of the bus. This program began in winter 2018, and we hope to expand it in the future!
Summer "Specials" (Camps and Other Events): We give books and book bags with literacy materials to kids at local camps and summer school programs. Our previous partners have included The Salvation Army Summer Camp programs in Traverse City and the Migrant camps/schools in Suttons Bay and Frankfort. We also give books away in Ludington during Friday Night Live. Children are invited to fill their bags with as many books as they can carry!
The Texas Relief Project: In October 2017, we sent over 2,200 book bags filled with literacy materials to three schools in Houston, Texas that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.