Lakewood High School students collect books for kids in Cleveland who don't have them

Efforts helping the 48.7 percent of Cleveland residents under 18 living in poverty
Posted at 12:18 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 09:43:01-05

CLEVELAND — What might look like a few high school students flipping through a few pages, actually is something much greater.

The Kids' Book Bank has given out 1.7 million children books in the three years its been around, helping families that might not otherwise be able to afford them. The Kids' Book Bank distributes the books through a team of nonprofits in the area.

Lakewood High School students sort out books donated to the Kids' Book Bank to see which ones can be donated to families in need.

A few months ago, the Book Bank decided to expand their mission, bringing in six high schools and enlisting the students to help with the mission.

"Kids are responsible for managing the bins, emptying them, and bringing us the books," said Kids' Book Bank Co-Founder Judy Payne.

Payne says students are responsible for making sure only books in an acceptable condition are passed along to non-profits to distribute to families.

The students collect the books in large bins where anyone can drop off books they don't want. Students sort out what can be donated, doing good by taking on a little extra responsibility.

"There's just pounds and pounds every couple weeks," said Lakewood High School Senior Corrina Cooper. "We go and take boxes and boxes."

Cooper is part of the Lakewood High School chapter of the Kids' Book Bank, and the work they're doing is helping the large number of children who live below the poverty line around Cleveland.

Books can be donated at bins like this one at Lakewood High School before they are collected by students.

In the past few years, Census data shows fewer kids are living in poverty around Cleveland, but in 2017, the city had 48.7 percent of its residents under the age of 18 in poverty. That's the most for any city that has more than 250,000 people.

"It's something you don't think about as much, but it really just helps underprivileged children so much to get a leg up," said Cooper, talking about the books.

Cooper says she and many of her classmates are fortunate enough to have grown up with books around their homes, but they know many young kids all over Cleveland aren't so lucky.

Books wait to be sorted and donated at the Kids' Book Bank.

"I want to give them the same opportunities that I've had to succeed," said Cooper.