NEWARK — Joyce Roberts stood at the entrance of the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, one hand cocked on her hip, the other clutching an armful of magazines as she continued perusing the newsstand, waiting for a glossy title to catch her eye.
Donation Supports Efforts to Combat Poverty Amid Rising Challenges From the COVID-19 Pandemic and Persistent Social Issues
September 10, 2020
SUSSEX, Wis. & COLUMBUS, Ohio — In celebration of International Literacy Day and the 16th anniversary of the founding of MagLiteracy.org this week, Quad announced today that it has donated $25,000 to MagLiteracy.org to kickstart the creation of a first-of-its-kind national literacy marketplace. The marketplace, a nationwide network of regional literacy banks, will facilitate donations of new, recycled or expired magazines and comic books to local literacy programs – an important tool in combatting poverty.
John Mennell is throwing a party, and we are all invited. In fact, John says, he wants every industry stakeholder—every printer, shipper, distributor, retailer and publisher—to join him in celebrating literacy.
John joined the Publishing Pandemic Roundtable–Joe Berger, Samir Husni, Bo Sacks, Sherin Pierce, Gemma Peckham, and me–on Wednesday to talk about his vision.
Special people and special companies deserve a shout out of thanks and gratitude from time to time. In this case, I want to bring to your attention the tireless work of John Mennell of MagazineLiteracy.org and Joel Quadracci of Quad Graphics. In my book they are unsung heroes performing necessary acts of kindness valiantly even though behind the scenes.
“The printed magazines are so important. The experience of holding a printed magazine in your hand and reading it, the experience of finding some time and reading a print magazine is so valuable.” John Mennell, MagazineLiteracy.org Founder
Like food and water, literacy is essential for humans to thrive.
At MagLiteracy.org, we are blessed with so much generous support from thousands of donors and volunteers, and community leaders who make our mission possible. As I write this, I am $469 in to a $170 Facebook birthday fundraising campaign to support MagLiteracy.org.
I am sharing the details of this fundraiser to show a way you can bring in the much needed financial support that allows us to meet growing literacy needs. Whether it’s your birthday or any other idea that you have to inspire others to support your own MagLiteracy.org fundraising campaign, we appreciate every dollar you raise and gift to our literacy mission.
The people you know will support your fundraising if you support it yourself and tell your personal experiences. Here’s my story that I posted on Facebook.
Four states, 750 sprawling miles, eight days of driving: that is what lies between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Columbus, Ohio. It’s not a journey that many choose to make. But for Dwight and Mary Demaine, the trip was well worth it in order to deliver their precious collection of 250 Gourmet magazines and cookbooks to the Ohio Literacy Bank.
Before this road trip, the recipe magazines and books the Demaines had acquired over 40 years were ready to take on a new life to bring their same joy to kindred at-risk readers. They try to donate what they can; the couple even has staple donating spots in their local area. However, finding a place that wanted magazines was a struggle – at least, until the DeMaine’s discovered MagLiteracy.org.
“We were very surprised when we found your site,” says Dwight Demaine. “It’s unusual to find a place that wants older magazines, so we were very happy to find [MagLiteracy].”
The culinary magazines MagLiteracy receives are more valuable than what one might originally think, and often go to culinary training programs for unemployed or homeless people, helping hundreds achieve their dreams of working in the restaurant and culinary industry. But getting these precious materials can be difficult when considering not only the short supply, but also the shipping fees. Shipping costs can be expensive, especially when there are hundreds of magazines to deliver. Rather than let hundreds of dollars be spent on shipping, where materials could potentially become damaged enroute, the Demaines decided on a better method of transporting the magazines: a road trip.
On July 18th, Dwight and Mary and set off on their interstate trip, their magazines packed neatly into boxes and arranged into clean rows in the back of their car. When they arrived at the Ohio Literacy Bank, they dropped their donations off at the warehouse and met with MagLiteracy volunteers, including founder John Mennell.
“We’ve always considered the enormous potential of giving literacy a lift. By filling car trunks, we are crowdsourcing the movement of magazines through our supply chain, from donors through to delivery to literacy programs for new readers,” explains Mennell.
“It was wonderful meeting people who are so committed,” says Mary Demaine.
The couple’s generosity didn’t stop there. The literacy bank had magazines that needed to be sent to the local magazine bank in Madison, Wisconsin. Once again, the issue of shipping arose. Luckily, there was already a solution to this problem: volunteers delivering the magazines personally on their way back home.
The Demaines agreed to help get the magazines from Columbus to Madison. So, for the second time that week, magazines were stacked into crates and packed up into the car trunk before they left – this time in the direction of Madison, Wisconsin.
“Mary and Dwight DeMaine of Minneapolis did an extraordinary favor for the Madison office by packing their Prius full of great magazines at the Ohio warehouse and dropping them off in Madison on their way home,” says Ken Johnson who heads up the Madison operations.
Thanks to the generosity of Mary and Dwight Demaine, MagLiteracy.org was able to receive and transport hundreds of magazines across the country – with free transportation, no less. The Demaines’ commitment to doing good, whenever and however they can, is awe-inspiring, and sets an example for all.
Abigail Jacob is a student living in northern New Jersey. She spends most of her free time with her head in a book. Through MagLiteracy.org, she hopes to help spark a similar passion for reading and open up pathways for others.
Today, we received a phone call at the Ohio Literacy Bank from Diana, who lives in a small Ohio town. She needed our mailing address. Diana has been buying copies of Highlights for Children and Taste of Home magazine, and more from her local newsstand every few months, recently over $80 worth of magazines, and shipping them to MagLiteracy.org to share her magazine love with kindred at-risk readers. She always includes a nice note, and wants to hear back that we received them.
Literacy is a light to brighten the lives of those in humanity’s dark corners. This weekend, an army of volunteers descended on the Ohio Literacy Bank and other places, to upcycle thousands of donated magazines to at risk readers reached via food banks, pantries, and schools in Ohio, a women’s homeless shelter in New York City, programs serving school children and families in Memphis, Mississippi, and Alabama, schools in central India, and a humanitarian organization in the Kashmir region.
Friday – volunteers transport thousands of donated magazine from Barnes & Noble stores to the Ohio Literacy Bank warehouse and to Ohio State student and service organizations for literacy sorting and packing. Daily shipments of recycled magazines arrive from consumers and publishers across the USA. Volunteers sorting magazines at home deliver finished bundles and pick up more to work on.
Reading our stories at MagLiteracy.org, you will see that young people wanting to make lasting change for good are the wind in our literacy sails.
Our first magazine recycling project was organized by a classroom of kindergarten students in San Francisco for children at a nearby homeless shelter.
This story is how Ohio State University student Sravya Patibandla has persevered through pandemic darkness to shine our literacy light for thousands of at-risk children and families when it’s needed now more than ever.
Many thanks to the wonderful people who own and operate the Atrium Corporation warehouse in Johnstown Ohio. Their support has enabled us to launch our popup Ohio Literacy Bank. When we received word of a supply of over 100,000 children’s magazines, Atrium stepped up to receive the pallets and allow our volunteers, including their own staff and families, to sort the boxes for delivery to summer feeding and reading programs around Columbus, and from West Virginia to Detroit.
At one end of a twenty mile span of the 101 just north of Hollywood, there is a reader with a cherished collection of over 4,000 Marvel comic books who wants to share them – gift them – to new readers for literacy. He is a literacy superhero. At the other end is a teacher in a school near the border of East Los Angeles who wants to put these and other reading materials into the hands, homes, and hearts of students who literally have zero books at home. She and her colleagues who are answering this highest calling are literacy superheroes. Together, the consumer and the teacher are challenging us all to rise up to meet the challenge and the responsibility to bridge their enormous literacy opportunity to change lives for good.
To the Marines and other service members and veterans who recycle their favorite magazines to MagLiteracy.org, thank you for your service.
Magazine enthusiasts gift their favorite titles, like these Marine Corp Gazette, Leatherneck, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and Marine Corp University Journals, to MagLiteracy.org for delivery to eager at-risk readers via our literacy newsstands in food pantries, homeless shelters, youth mentoring, STEM, job training, and other literacy programs. With titles for every age, interest, professional aspiration, and language, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet.
The National Wildlife Federation, the very first publisher to back our global literacy moonshot 25 years ago, has just gifted MagLiteracy.org enough Zoobie magazines to reach 18,000+ parents to read with their infants and children.
As we might have learned from Gus in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and found in Wikipedia,”haptic” is from the Greek word haptόs for “palpable”. The sense of touch enhances our ability to learn. Studies show that human information retention and learning improve when print reading materials are held and pages are turned. So, the physical experience of reading combines with the visual and other senses to produce advantages in “getting a handle on a subject” to “grasp” concepts and lessons for, as Oprah would say, living our best life.
This thank you note made our day today and more. Thank you to everyone who carries and passes on our #literacy flame to change lives for good.
We are posting this thank you note from a homeless program we serve as a way to share it to thank the thousands of volunteers, businesses, publishing, printing, donors, recyclers, and other literacy champions who make our at MagLiteracy.org mission thrive. Thank you!
The families being serviced here are presently enduring the battle of homelessness. Often the children we service are arriving and enduring this very difficult situation with just what they are currently wearing and nothing else. Being able to receive your donation empowers that child in a very special way.
The excitement and joy that was expressed by the children receiving these magazines was a very special moment for all, especially for those receiving and those whom were fortunate to witness the huge smiles as they searched through the selections. I extend to you a special appreciation for the various genres of magazines provided to select from. I must inform you that the young teenageers in attendance were elated with the sports magazines and often during the fair they had conversations of various players and were eager to explore the pages and share facts.
Fueled by a generous donation of over 200,000 high quality children’s magazines from Cricket Media, and expert logistics transport, warehousing, and delivery to literacy programs by the Quad company, our planets have aligned to launch our literacy mission to new heights.
“Personally, as a first generation student, education is something I’m very passionate about, and what got me interested in volunteering at MagazineLiteracy.org. The work being done to promote literacy in the greater Madison area is critical in the hopes of ending poverty, and I’m very fortunate to be part of it.” — Abish Kharel – UW UNICEF Club
For Cassidy, the most important part of working with MagazineLiteracy.org has been finding new purpose for all different kinds of magazines and comics, some of which are aimed at highly specific audiences.
Our literacy mission according to first principles:
The enormous value of literacy is well understood.
With titles for every reading age, interest, and language, the unique benefits of printed magazines and comics for reading engagement and comprehension are well established.
The literacy needs for tens of millions of U.S. and hundreds of millions of global at-risk, vulnerable, and illiterate readers is effectively constant and endless.
The supply of magazine and comic book reading materials is effectively constant and endless, worldwide.
Publishers love to create readers for good.
Consumers love to share their deep enthusiasm for favorite media with kindred readers for good.
Therefore, our essential task at MagLiteracy.org is to form the partnerships that fund and operate the logistics to deliver the desired magazines and comics from where they are to the literacy programs, hands, homes, and hearts of eager readers.