Authored by Melanie Boyer on May 5, 2020
Posted In: Impact Stories
First Book received this letter after distributing COVID-19 funding grants from Pizza Hut.
Dear First Book,
I started crying after I read your email. With everything that is occurring in the world right now, it makes me sad and worried about our children. I am an ER Physician working in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Harlem Hospital and run a program, Harlem Reads, which provides free books to our pediatric patients. Many of our patients do not have books of their own and suffer from low literacy rates. With our local schools closed in NYC until September now, I worried our children’s reading skills would decline even further. Before each child would receive one book, and now I give them more than one so they would be encouraged to continue reading over the next few months.
Harlem Reads has no budget and operates solely through the kind donations of individuals and organizations. I was able to recently collect donations from our nurses and doctors of $200 and purchased 464 new books from First Book. I was so happy with the number of books I could obtain for this amount of money. And today, with the support from Pizza Hut and First Book, I will be able to double the number of books. The value which you will be providing to our children is priceless.
On behalf of the children from Harlem, thank you for helping us to becoming better readers. Your support provides the hope we all need during this pandemic. I will ensure the books obtained through this award will have acknowledgement of generously being donated by Pizza Hut and First Book. Please stay safe.
Dr. Alexie Puran, Harlem Reads, New York City
Dr. Alexie Puran is an emergency room physician at Harlem Hospital in New York.