“I also like to escape inside their world, tucked behind their colorful spines. It forces me to fully invest my mind into what I’m doing, not just my ears or my eyes.”―Katie Kacvinsky, Awaken.
This is the perfect description for how I feel about books. I know without a doubt that it would be impossible to live without them and I believe everyone should have books, regardless of their life circumstances.
Last week, we volunteered at Big House Books in Jackson, Mississippi. This organization packages books to be shipped to inmates in prison by request. I was struck by the magnitude of this organization. Some people volunteered by shelving, and others by packing books or filling requests. I got to fill requests. It was a unique experience getting to read the inmates’ letters. I was surprised by how polite the letters were and to see which books they requested. When I couldn’t find the exact book they wanted or had the chance to pick any book from a certain genre, I tended to choose to share with the inmates a book I personally would read.
I wish I could have spent a longer time at Big House Books and I also would like to hear how inmates liked the books we sent them. I know for sure that I will volunteer at a similar organization closer to where I live in the future. I also hope to donate some of the books that were often requested but were not available.
I had an amazing experience and I encourage everyone to donate or volunteer at a similar organization.
By Meredith Schulhof, Mitzvah Corps American South 2018 Participant