Two weeks ago, we were approached by Officer Steven Keith from the SFPD Mission Station. He had heard that we were closing and was wondering if we might have some books to donate for the community room at Garfield Park. He told me that a lot of kids from the neighborhood had been coming there for the "sandlot" sports activities sponsored by the Police Activities League.
Office Keith writes, "Mission Station's Captain Perea and officers from his housing unit brought SF PAL's (San Francisco Police Activities League) Sandlot program to Garfield Park on January 26th 2015. The program encourages children from the surrounding neighborhood as well as kids from nearby MEPI (Mission Educational Projects Inc) to gather for pick up games or just to play catch.
Garfield Park's clubhouse was secured and furnished through donations and reclaimed items from the city's virtual warehouse. This newly acquired space presented an opportunity to offer a safe place for kids to read. The idea was to provide books for kids to read in the clubhouse or take home to read at their leisure. They could keep that book or pass it on. Bookshelves were repurposed from MUNI storage and moved in to the clubhouse. Reading Mission was born and the bookshelves await the means to broaden horizons."
Obviously we thought that this was a great idea and were all in favor of it. But the problem was that the kids range in age from 8 to 14, and not very many of our books are really right for that age range.
At the time, we had every expectation that we would be closing and we were getting constant offers of support from our customers. Alan thought that filling those shelves would both be a great way for the store to go out with a bang and would give us a place to direct our customers' enthusiasm by suggesting that they make a donation to the book drive. The plan that he came up with was this: we would ask our customers to give us $10 and the name of a book that _they_ wanted to see on the shelves. We would then order the books at cost and pass them along. We would also use any money left over to purchase additional books selected by our staff. He announced the idea at our community meeting on Thursday, the 12th, and many people were very much in favor of the idea. We collected suggestions and donations that evening, and those books will be on the shelves at Garfield Park shortly.
Of course, we didn't realize at the time that we would be staying open due to the financial support and enthusiasm of our customers. Had we known that at the time, we wouldn't have planned a book drive that would rely on cash donations from our customers. However, we are very committed to doing the things that we say we're going to do, so the book drive is still on.
Here's how it works -- call, email or come into the store and give us the title of a book that you love (or loved when you were young) plus $10. We'll take care of ordering the book and getting it delivered to the Garfield Park facility for the kids.
If you have books that are in solid, readable shape that you would like to donate, bring them by the store or the cafe anytime and we'll pass them along.
Please bear in mind the age group we're aiming for - 8- to 14-year-olds with average reading skills.
In the interests of passing along some of the support and goodwill that has been coming our way, we will be matching the first 300 cash donations with $5 of our own. In essence, we'll be putting up one book for every two books that our customers pledge. But, you only have a short window in which to act -- we'll be placing the order in the morning on Monday, March the 9th. So, stop by this week and do something great for the kids in the Mission District.