First Book works tirelessly throughout the year to provide new, high quality books to students in need. One of the true pleasures of this work is to know that volunteers, organizations, and communities across the country are working toward the same goal.
Recently, we received a wonderful letter that highlighted the incredible creativity of one such group.
MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, Michigan, does an annual movie promotion event to benefit an organization of their choice. This year, the movie theater used its promotion for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to help bring books to kids through First Book.
During the movie’s opening weekend, several of the theater’s managers and staff created a wonderful display of Bilbo Baggins’ iconic home, Bag End. One employee went above and beyond to dress up as Gandalf the Grey himself and posed in photographs with patrons for a small donation.
As a result of their hard work and imaginative fundraising, the night turned out to be a huge success. They combined the donations from the weekend with the funds from a year-long soda can recycling program to raise a total of $1,384.66 to help put books in the hands of low-income students.
The staff successfully combined the excitement of a fan base for a movie premiere with the compassion of their audience to help students across the country. It serves as a high bar for the rest of us and makes us think: what are some creative ways we could help the students in our own communities?
If the tale of The Hobbit has taught us anything, it’s that you can never underestimate the impact of a small band of friends. In the wise words of Gandalf the Grey: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” In this case, let’s pretend the ‘darkness’ he is referring to is illiteracy. First Book could not be happier to have such great friends, with innovative ideas, along to way to create a generation of successful readers!