After a month of giving away books to Plainfield students at meal-distribution points, LunchBoox has expanded. The program, in partnership with Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell and her staff, began with one volunteer at one school twice a week. Recently two more residents have scheduled appearances at Emerson (Mondays) and Clinton (Thursdays) elementary schools, in addition to Plainfield High School (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays). So now students can pick up a free book every day of the week from at least one school in the city that hands out free breakfast and lunch.

The original request for books to distribute to kids was answered quickly and enthusiastically. “Plainfielders answered our call for books within hours. And then I heard from folks who live in other towns!” said Katherine Balch, who started the program in May.

“The Friends of the Fanwood Memorial Library, the Thursday Morning Club of Madison, and residents from Westfield and Scotch Plains – all have been enormously generous with their time and reading materials.”

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Students and their parents now look for LunchBoox and ask for specific titles. If they don’t see the book-strewn table when they arrive for their grab-and-go meals, they ask the food vendor when the books will return.

Because of the program’s success, LunchBoox now needs more books and more volunteers to give them away. Donors and anyone who can give two hours of their time a week can contact LunchBoox through its mother organization, SMART Plainfield, a group that reads and presents to students in the Plainfield public schools. Contact LunchBoox on Facebook @SMARTplainfield or by email