Eighth-graders at Milwaukee Jewish Day School are hosting a book drive to secure donations to fill four Little Free Libraries that will be installed outside local food pantries.
The students painted the libraries as part of a woodworking class with the goal of creating quick and free access to books when people pick up food or supplies from the panties. Just over 12% of Milwaukee County residents experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America.
The book drive runs Jan. 26 through Feb. 8 at the school. The students plan to fill the libraries with a variety of reading materials and books of different skill levels. Once the libraries are full, they will be permanently installed.
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Two of the Little Free Libraries will be posted outside the Jewish Food Pantry and the other two libraries will be given to other area pantries. The project is in collaboration with Tikkun Ha-ir, which means ‘repair the city’ in Hebrew, a local Jewish social justice organization working to “alleviate the pressing needs of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Jim Salinsky, the woodworking teacher at Milwaukee Jewish Day School who built the libraries, uses his classroom as an opportunity to give back to the community as well as encourage creativity.
“The students really let the creative process dictate the themes,” says Salinsky. “One of the groups was mixing paints and thought the colors looked like a sunset. So they rolled with that idea as the theme, adding birds and waves.”
In addition to building the Free Little Libraries, Milwaukee Jewish Day students have built a custom Tiny House that will be delivered to the Veterans Village in Racine. The Veterans Village provides homeless veterans with their own tiny homes that include a bed, chair and television with 24-hour meal and bathroom facilities in the communal lodge. The students’ tiny house is set to be delivered in spring 2023.