by Daniele Berman, Operations Manager
If there’s one thing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for, it is for having an unabashedly ambitious and idealistic dream: equality for all. So while MLK Day each year is a celebration of the progress this nation has made towards fulfilling his dream and simultaneously a reminder of how much work remains to be done, it is also a celebration of the power of a dream, how one person’s passion for what is right can become a rallying cry for an entire nation to embrace: “Let freedom ring!”
At Book Harvest, we have a dream of our own. We dream that we can close the income-based book gap in the Triangle, one book and one child at a time, so that one day we will no longer have children in our community struggling to succeed because they’re lacking something so simple as a book. To that end, MLK Day is our day to call our community together for our Dream Big Book Drive, to contribute their time, their donations of books, and their desire to make a change—and to help us make our dream a reality.
Just last week, we took one amazing, overwhelming, joy-filled step toward doing just that: in three hours, we collected, sorted, stickered, and boxed over 22,000 books with the help of 250 volunteers! At the same time, we came together as a community, welcoming over 600 guests to work and laugh and play and write and read and create—all in the company of such local heroes as Durham Mayor Bill Bell, ABC11’s Tisha Powell, Wool E. Bull, and Maky the Lemur!
In the midst of all that celebration, we collected and prepared enough books to stock our Community Book Bank shelves for four months, which will change the lives of countless children who might not otherwise have a single book to call their own. It was an awesome day!
While it’s impossible to thank everyone who helped make our dreams come true, we absolutely couldn’t have done it without our amazing hosts at The Carolina Theatre of Durham; our gold star volunteer leaders from the North Carolina Literacy Corps; our tirelessly strong and helpful volunteer movers from TROSA; our workhorse MLK Day committee, chaired by Joanne Vance; our 41 inspiring Dream Big sponsors; the excellent folks in the Will and Pop’s food truck and the Caffe Bellezza mobile coffee cart; our favorite musician Matt Phillips; our sensational photographers David Gellatly, Scott Van Manen, Susan Robeno, and Kirsten Steele; our social media hosts and helpers at DurhamCares and Bull City Serves; and the many, many people who ran Dream Big book drives to bring in all those gorgeous, game-changing books.
We at Book Harvest ended our MLK Day overwhelmed by the generosity of our community. But although our one-day event is over, we’re far from done dreaming!