The St. Lucy Project aims to strengthen Catholic engagement in service to the poor. Through a parish-centered approach, the St. Lucy Project provides opportunities for parishioners to fulfill their Baptismal call to “feed the hungry,” informed by the Gospel message of hope, love and charity.
A mini-library system is thriving at our St. Lucy Project food pantry in Leesburg, providing access to books to poor families who may not have any.
Families can take two books per child when they come to pick up food or emergency financial assistance. Adults can also choose from a selection of books or can take a Bible or a copy of the Catechism.
“They are thrilled with the idea that the books are theirs to keep,” said Liz Krebes, the pantry volunteer who inspired this initiative. “If they come back to the pantry, they can get more books. It’s like an open-ended invite to access more books.”
Krebes, who also volunteers at Cascades Library in Potomac Falls, said she wanted to ensure that all families, especially those in poor and immigrant communities, could enjoy the benefits of reading.
She brought in books from the library’s rummage sale, and pantry manager Kenna Cuomo asked other volunteers to bring in books too. More than 1,400 books have been donated since June, including some from Fr. Richard Guest and his parish, St. Theresa in Ashburn.
Cuomo is thrilled with the impact this initiative is having on pantry clients, who also receive information on how to sign up at the public library.
“We had one little girl clutching her books to her chest as if she had never had a book before,” Cuomo said. “We knew this small program was making a big difference.”
Did You Know? Among students from low-income backgrounds, 80 percent do not read at the correct grade level, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. Studies show that having books in the home improves a child’s reading performance, causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time, and produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning (Reading is Fundamental).
Do you have gently used books that you can share with the poor? Please donate them to our reading program at our Leesburg pantry or your nearest CCDA location. Contact Kenna Cuomo for more information at KCuomo@CCDA.net or (703) 443-2481.
If you would like to get involved with the work of feeding the hungry at the St. Lucy Project, please consider becoming a volunteer or making a financial gift. We are grateful for the thousands of generous supporters who make our work possible.