United Way requesting handmade bookmarks for summer reading program

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The United Way is asking for volunteers to make bookmarks to include with books they’re giving to students this summer. Photo courtesy of the United Way of Greater St. Joseph.

by Sarah Thomack

St. Joseph Post

The United Way Reading Adventure is canceled this year because of COVID-19, so the United Way of Greater St. Joseph came up with another way volunteers can help.

United Way Director of Community Investment Jodi Bloemker says they have a lot of donated books from the community that they give out to kids to build home libraries and an idea grew from there.

“What if we got our volunteers and community members to make bookmarks or encouraging notes that can be put in these books that are then going to go out to kids throughout the summer,” Bloemker says. “Just little notes to encourage the students to keep reading, like, ‘You’re doing a great job,’ ‘Read this,’ something like that that’s encouraging, it’s positive and it let’s them know that somebody cares about them. It also gives the volunteers something to do to be involved.”

Bloemker says they would like to collect around a thousand bookmarks and notes by June 12th to distribute with books through Second Harvest Community Food Bank’s No Hunger Summer feeding sites as well as several child care centers.

“Kids get to pick out a book to take home, they get to keep the book, help build their home libraries and also receive that encouraging note from a volunteer,” Bloemker says.

Making bookmarks encourages creativity, but Bloemker says there are a few guidelines.

“Some of these will go out to smaller children, so please don’t put any buttons or choking hazards on it as well as, like, glitter can get all the books so we don’t want to hurt anything like that,” Bloemker says. “But really, as long as you’ve got paper and some crayons or marker, you can easily make a few bookmarks.”

Bookmarks and notes can be mailed to United Way at P.O. Box 188, St. Joseph, MO 64502, porch pickups can be arranged by calling (816) 364-2381 or items can be delivered to the Take A Book Tuesday mailbox located outside the United Way front entrance at 118 S. 5th Street.