To Valpo’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi, encouraging reading, and a love of reading, is an important part of their philanthropic efforts. According to their webpage, their Read > Lead > Achieve effort “inspires a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential creating a more literate and productive society.”
This March, Pi Phi will be holding a book drive with donations to Hilltop Neighborhood House, a local childcare center and food pantry which emphasizes families in need of financial support. The drive will take place the week of Mar. 23 in Chapel View Lounge.
“We have a partnership with Hilltop. So that's kind of specific,” said Kimberly Nieman, Director of Philanthropy. “And we like helping people actually within our community with the book. But our philanthropy also is read, lead, achieve. And so just that literacy aspect to it, which is being a book drive, just something that we deem appropriately fitting because of the fact that that is our philanthropy.”
Because this is not the first year Pi Phi has done the drive, some of the members have participated in this philanthropy in past years.
“I personally went and dropped off the books. It was really cool. We colored pictures with the kids and we put books in their mailboxes,” Nieman said, in reference to last year’s book drive.
To Nieman, a part of participating in this philanthropy is also the interaction with the kids who will be receiving books.
“I think it's super heartwarming,” Nieman said. “So the kids who attend Hilltop are like low income families and stuff. So yeah, knowing that they have this resources is really nice. And then just being able to deliver books to all the children just makes us feel great that we're making an impact.”
Sophie Kreinik, Pi Phi’s Vice President of Community Relations, was also present at last year’s book drive.
“Right when we all last year walked into the room and presented the books to the kids and hung out with them for a while all their faces lit up,” Kreinik said. “It was super, self rewarding, not even like within just our organization, but personally I know for me, I felt very good about myself and like passionate about helping these kids that making sure they have a good time waiting for their parents to just pick them up after they have had a busy day.”
Kreinik explained that she will be donating books to the drive in order to help extend some of the knowledge kids get in the classroom.
“I know for me personally, my mom is a teacher and she has lots of books,” Kreinik said. “She teaches preschool so I'll definitely be taking some of those books and helping like pass it down...So it is around like that type of like learning more and extending that knowledge that kids learn in class.”
For anyone interested in getting involved at Hilltop, Kreinik recommends reaching out to either Pi Phi or Hilltop directly.
“They're always looking for people to come and volunteer and spend time with the kids, and help around like cleaning stuff up and organizing,” Kreinik said. “Definitely encourage everybody to volunteer when they donate the book when we're asking people for that.”