by John Mennell
FAQ: Why give Conde Nast Traveler or House Beautiful or Veranda magazine or Architectural Digest to a homeless person or to a family in a transitional housing program? Why give Cooking Light magazine or Food Network Magazine to a hungry person or soup kitchen newsstand? Why give Inc. magazine or Fast Company to an unemployed reader, or travel magazines to the homebound?
Literacy ends poverty. With titles for every reading age, interest, and language, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet.
Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of poor children and families have zero books at home. We can fix this today.
Researchers say that poor infants hear 30 million fewer words when their brains are wiring for life. By supplying favorite magazines, we can put words into the mouths of moms and dads reading to their children.
Each night, 35,000 women and children seek the safety of a domestic violence shelter. By sharing the magazine love, we can comfort and empower them tonight.
There are over a million homeless students hidden in every school district in America. With a simple act of kindness – gifting a favorite magazine to read, we can show that they are not invisible and give them hope for a better tomorrow.
Reading is where it all begins. Our mission at MagazineLiteracy.org is driven by literacy agency needs and wishes – we provide agencies that want magazines with the magazines they request to meet literacy objectives they define.
Maybe it’s a magazine that helps a Big Brother or Sister to find a common interest with the child they are mentoring; or the stories a brother reads to his sister, or a mom to her child in a homeless or domestic violence shelter; or Tennis magazines for kids in Boston’s Tenacity mentoring program; or Golf Digest for a golf-based mentoring program, or Wooden Boat magazine for teens building boats and lives at Rocking the Boat on the East River, or culinary magazines for a food bank’s chef training program for unemployed or homeless people.
There are thousands of magazine titles, so reading materials are available that match every reading level, topic of interest, and demographic, as well as many languages and cultures. Magazines are both timely and timeless and arrive with fresh stories and images every month.
Magazines are both inspirational and aspirational – I’m never going to be an astronaut or a rocket scientist, but I’ve always loved reading about space exploration; I may not be able to travel to many places around the world, but love to journey to them via gorgeous, vivid magazine pages. If my coffee table can say something about me by the magazines I display, why not a magazine on a HERO coffee table proudly speaking out about its new homeowner?
Health and nutrition and financial literacy magazines are among the most frequently requested and shared magazines:
Here’s an inspiring story about magazines we delivered to children at the River Food Pantry.
Here’s a photo of TIME For Kids delivered with funding from a Subway Sandwich Shop owner to children in a Harlem after-school program:
Reading, like food, is basic to freedom, dignity, and prosperity. Magazines in hands, homes, and hearts – and on coffee table everywhere are powerful resources for literacy.
We inspire consumers to be citizens of the world – to share the experience, the dignity, and the freedom that you and I have to enjoy reading any and every magazine available. We can always do better. For example, we need to continue to focus on improving our understanding of literacy needs and our response – especially in native and first languages.
Join us. Share the magazines you love with new readers. Help us find and feed children and families hungry to learn and love to read.
iMAGine changing the world – one magazine, one reader at a time – and make it so!