THROUGHOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, BRIDGE OF BOOKS FOUNDATION CONTINUED TO PROVIDE BOOKS TO UNDERSERVED NJ CHILDREN, BUT IS NOW ASKING THE COMMUNITY FOR HELP TO FIND A NEW HOME BASE.
Throughout the pandemic, From March – October, Bridge of Books provided 29,081 children’s books to those in need. Outside of Bridge of Book’s regular mission, they also delivered 2,500 books to the homes of the elderly and local hospitals.
MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: As with many organizations, the COVID-19 shutdown has had a significant impact on Bridge of Books (BoB). Since 2015, BoB has run their operations out of space donated by Vonage in Holmdel. When companies in NJ went virtual mid-March, Vonage closed their building too, displacing BoB and limiting access to the books that were stored there.
With so many people cleaning their houses (because what else do you do during a pandemic?), BoB was receiving daily calls to donate children’s books. When community agencies started to request books for kids in need, BoB immediately pivoted to go “old school” or back to the beginning when they used to collect and distribute books from Founder and Executive Director, Abigail A. Daly’s front porch. As the number of requests increased and as BoB was uncertain how long they would be out of Vonage, they eventually decided to temporarily rent a storage unit in Atlantic Highlands.
Since the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March, BoB has still managed to pull together 43 book donations going to 36 individual providers across 14 separate NJ counties. Total? Just over 29,000 books. All from a front porch and a storage unit and with the dedication, patience and support of a few volunteers and an entire community of book donors and book recipients. While BoB has made it work in order to get books to kids who need them, this a short-term solution because the unit does not provide nearly the amount of space that is needed.
Sadly, BoB has recently learned that Vonage will be consolidating their own operations and in doing so will be taking over the space that they had generously been donating to Bridge of Books for the past 5 years which leaves BoB needing to find a new permanent home as soon as possible.
Founder and Executive Director of Bridge of Books Foundation, Abigail A. Daly, said, “With the realities of a digital divide among communities across NJ, kids who needed books from us before the pandemic need them even more now. Alongside the countless NJ organizations working to meet the needs of those most affected by the pandemic, we ARE figuring out how to get books to these kids.”
Bottom Line: Bridge of Books needs a new donated home in Monmouth County in order to continue their mission and would appreciate any leads. The space would need to be:
- 1,500 - 2,000 square feet
- Temperature controlled
- Have garage/ loading dock access (2nd floor is OK as long as there is an elevator & garage/loading dock access)
- 9-5 access on weekdays plus weekend access.
About Bridge of Books Foundation
Bridge of Books Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-led organization. Their mission is to provide an ongoing source of books to underserved children throughout New Jersey in order to support the development of literacy skills and to encourage a love of reading. Based in Holmdel, New Jersey, Bridge of Books Foundation collects books through book drives, individual donations, publisher overstocks, and corporate donors. Books are then distributed through various agencies, community events, schools, and other venues. Since its founding in 2003, Bridge of Books Foundation has facilitated the donation of more than 1.183 million books to underserved children across New Jersey.
For more information, contact:
Abigail Daly, Founder & Executive Director
Bridge of Books Foundation
Tel: (732) 291-4755