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“Read Up” at “Meet Up, Eat Up”

One of the best ways to impact educational attainment for children in low-income communities is to develop their reading skills. To develop those skills, children are encouraged to read at home. However, many children living in poverty in the U.S. do not have access to books at their houses. 

This past March, in celebration of National Reading Month, and in partnership with Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and Cass County Great Start Collaborative, United Way of Southwest Michigan collected more than 15,000 books in Berrien and Cass counties during the annual “Spring Into Reading” book drive for area kids.

In addition to being distributed through area home-visiting programs, tri-county Head Start programs, area shelters, strategic businesses, area food pantries, and targeted agencies, the books are also being used to add a “Read Up” component to summer “Meet up, Eat Up” sites in Berrien and Cass counties. 

“Meet Up, Eat Up” sites are part of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) from the USDA, that ensures low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The population this program serves is one that can greatly benefit from sending books with them to their homes. 

“Read Up” will give children access to books while experiencing the power of storytelling through a reading volunteer, who reads stories to kids at area “Meet Up, Eat Up” sites that give children a chance to pick out books of their very own from a portable library to take home and read.

Reading aloud increases a child’s attention span and excites that child about reading. That excitement will be continued when children pick out books to keep. This interaction will impact them for a lifetime! 

Find a location and time at which you would like to “Read Up” and sign up! 

VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTIONS - Printable PDF

Read Up volunteer opportunities

Niles

1615 N. 5th St., Niles

  • June 26 - 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

  • July 10 - 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

  • July 31 - 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

  • August 21 - 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Sign up to volunteer.

 

Dowagiac

Vineyard Place Apartments, 508 Vineyard Pl. Dr., Dowagiac

  • June 27 - 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

  • July 11 - 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

  • August 1 - 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

  • August 22 - 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Sign up to volunteer.

 

Covert 

Covert Public Schools, 35323 M-140 Hwy.

  • June 25 - 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • July 16 - 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • July 30 - 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 

Benton Harbor 

Union Park, 1250 Union Ave., Benton Harbor

  • July 9 - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • July 16 - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Benton Manor, 197 Madeline Ave., Benton Harbor

  • July 11 - 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.

Broadway Park, 998 Broadway Ave., Benton Harbor

  • July 10 - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • July 17 - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.