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New Hanover County, NC

Food For The Body - Food For The Mind

Thanks to a generous grant from Eshelman Foundation supplemented with individual donations, First Book – NHCo is distributing 1500 books during July & August to children at 6 Summer Lunch sites: YMCA, YWCA, Wrightsboro Elementary, Jervay Community, Vesta Village and WRAAP @ Freedom Way Ministry.  Those programs work hard to help stop “summer slump” of reading skills during vacation.  We hope that choosing their own books to take home will turbocharge the efforts of these programs.

About First Book

First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, each year First Book distributes millions of free and low-cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them.

Since the number of books in the home significantly correlates with children's reading scores, First Book addresses this particular facet of the literacy challenge. First Book provides new books for these children to keep. Over the course of several months they build up their own home library.  Age-appropriate books in the home also encourage family members to read together.

Our local Advisory Board, First Book-New Hanover County, was formed in August 2006. Local Advisory Boards are the gateway to free books for all kinds of programs that serve disadvantaged families in our area.  Through us they learn about First Book resources and have local encouragement and oversight in their use of First Book grants.  During 2006-2009 we distributed over $10000 in book grants.  This translates to about 5000 new books.  In 2010 alone we exceeded our fund-raising goal and reached $13,000.  Our Board is actively recruiting volunteers that want to help meet the mission for First Book and to raise funds to support the purchase of new books.


Book Grant Recipients

Since 2006 First Book -- New Hanover County Grants (and/or Borders Gift Cards) have been given to:

  • Bradley Creek Elementary School
  • Anderson Elementary School
  • College Park Elementary School
  • Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary School
  • Community Boys & Girls Club of Wilmington
  • Cape Fear Literacy Council
  • Hillcrest Reading Program
  • Trask Middle School
  • D.C. Virgo Middle School
  • YWCA After-School
  • Children's Museum of Wilmington
  • Carolina Canines – Paws for Reading
  • Smart Start New Hanover County
  • UNCW Watson Junior Seahawk Academy
  • Gregory School of Science & Technology
  • Brigade Boys & Girls Club
  • Walker-Wells Community Learning Center
  • Holly Shelter Middle School
  • Murray Middle School
  • Williston Middle School
  • Myrtle Grove Middle School
  • Snipes Academy
  • MC Williams Elementary
  • Freeman Elementary
  • Winter Park Elementary
  • Forest Hills Global Elementary
  • Sunset Park Elementary
  • Wilmington Housing Authority

Local Sponsors and Donors

We are able to provide brand-new, high-quality books to children in our community thanks to the generous financial contributions of local businesses and individuals like:

  • Landfall Foundation 
  • Eshelman Foundation
  • Books-A-Million
  • UNCW Ceramic  Studio
  • Corning
  • Bargain Box
  • Woman’s Club – Coastal Living Show
  • Sorosis – Wilmington Chapter
  • Live Oak Real Estate
  • Wilmington Real Estate 4U
  • Dr. Stephen Treman, DDS

Since 2006 we have also raised funds from the general community through:

  • Waldenbooks (closed 04/07)
  • SunTrust Mortgage employees
  • Giant Book Sale (closed 08/09)
  • Blueberry Festivals
  • Belk Charity Days ticket sales & sale day volunteers
  • Barnes & Noble Holiday gift wrapping
  • Books-a-Million holiday wrapping
  • Pomegranate Books customers
  • Two Sisters Bookery customers
  • Individual donors
  • Dragonflies Gifts customers
  • Cheerios—Spoonful of Stories
  • McAllister & Solomon Used Books customers
  • Festival Latino
  • Progressive Gardens customers
  • Transplanted Garden customers
  • Edward Jones customers
  • Old Books on Front St. customers
  • Board Member friends &  family

First Book Needs You!  

We are looking for passionate, entrepreneurial people who want to make a difference in their community. Help us get books to kids who need them most.  We meet monthly to share progress, brainstorm next projects and share out the tasks.  Many hands make light work.

  • We will soon be needing folks willing to “tend shop” downtown at Harrelson Center, issuing books to families served there.  Hope we can be there once or twice a week for a few hours each time. 
  • We’ll need folks to attend book distributions at Wilmington Housing Authority and Community B&G Club.
  • Need people who are willing to paste donor labels on bookplates to show our appreciation to foundations who’ve given us grants.  It’s not exciting but a satisfying pastime while watching Jeopardy. ;-)
  • Would love to have someone adept in social media & willing to post news for us.
  • We could use another grant writer or grant-writer-in-training.  After a while it becomes cut-&-paste and update and proof-read, but it does take time and focus.
  • We review grant opportunities as a group and discuss best local target groups that would fit the grantor’s guidelines.
  • Someone (with perhaps a sales background) would be valuable reaching out to organizations serving low-income kids: after-school programs & daycares for example.  


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