Burnaby Neighbourhood House: 4460 Beresford Street, Burnaby, BC, V5H 0B8
Literacy Outreach Coordinator: 604-562-3447
literacynow@burnabynh.ca

Feeding Hearts and Minds with Literacy Hampers in 2022

Spring and summer months are times for our literacy hampers, which are gifts of books and other learning materials included in food bank packages for the needy.

48% of adult Canadians have low literacy skills that fall below a high school level, which negatively affects their ability to function at work and in their personal lives. Low levels of literacy is linked to low self-esteem, poor communication skills, and dependence on welfare.

Higher Literacy levels lead to better work outcomes, heath and parenting skills. Literacy opens doors to understanding, empathy, critical thinking, and the capacity for lifelong learning, especially for children. But far too many of Canada’s children are being left behind. When parents are struggling to put food on the table, they can’t easily provide learning materials.

That is why our partner organizations are stepping up with literacy donations. They include thousands of top childrens’ books, sketch books, math cards, and colouring kits. We also receive tons of used adult books including New York Time bestsellers and well known titles.

One of our biggest fans is Anna, a parent of 3 young children. She says her kids love their new storybooks and workbooks so much, and this allows her take a much needed break from the constant parenting. Many other parents share her sentiment, and are amazed by the quality of the materials offered. Parents also return their used books and toys to help other parents.

Another big fan of ours is Bob, a local resident with a disability who can’t easily travel to libraries. An avid reader, he frequently picks up several New York Times best sellers and returns them once finished.

A lot of the people we reach at the food hub are non-English speakers and new immigrants who are not on the internet. Some don’t have smartphones or computers. But through our food bank outreach, we can reach this vulnerable population with vital information about the immigrant resources Burnaby has to offer.

So far, we have held 18 literacy hamper events at 6 food banks and outreach centres and gave away more than 3000 books. Our volunteers have logged over 60 volunteer hours and reached more than 800 families.

As more people come to rely on food banks and hampers to get by, a program like this can be essential in building up communities that are stronger, healthier and more productive. Literacy is the key to a good life, and in hard times, it’s even more important.

We’d like to thank our volunteers: Elaine, Dayna, Marlene, Rawad, Aaron, Oscar, and Marina for their fantastic service!

And thank you to the following organizations for their generous donations!

  • Burnaby Public Library
  • Chilliwack Learning Society
  • Chilliwack Rotary Club
  • First Book Canada
  • Literacy Matters Abbotsford
  • New Westminster Public Library
  • Pages 2 Places
  • Read On Canada
  • The Christmans Bureau
  • Decoda Literacy Solutions
  • Raise a Reader (Vancouver Sun)
  • And the many community members from Burnaby (David, Sharon, Julie, Muna, Maria, Julia, Mario, and so many More)