Literacy on a roll

By Abigail Jacob

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.