The Growth Spurt Continues: POP Project’s 2014 in Review and Look ahead to 2015

DSCF2814_2The POP Project broke our book delivery records in 2014 by sorting, packing, and delivering almost 7,000 books valued at nearly $35,000! These books were delivered to local area schools, children’s programs, shelters, housing and healthcare centers, and detention centers, as well as to NC’s maximum security state prisons.

We also held a number of volunteer opportunities, coordinated local activities to promote literacy, and participated in several national book campaigns. Here’s a look back at our highlights of 2014:

POP’s Best Moments of 2014

  • New Board Members: POP appointed three new board members in spring 2014 to help with our growth and development. We are so excited about the work done by Elizabeth Garzarelli, Leslie Hawkins, and Rosanna Mulcahy in 2014, and the projects that will be coming to fruition this year.
  • Rethink Ink Book Sale Fundraiser: In February, POP raised $406 during a book sale fundraiser held at the Biltmore Lake Clubhouse. The annual event allows us to promote reading and books during the technological revolution while raising money by selling books we are unable to donate into the community.
  • World Book Night: In April, POP participated in our third annual National World Book Night by donating a classroom set of the acclaimed middle-grade historical fiction novel Zora and Me to Asheville Middle School. Sponsored by World Book Night U.S., the event provides givers around the nation, including POP, with 20 free copies of books to give for free to low-income readers.
  • Day of Caring: In September, eight volunteers from BB&T helped POP sort, count, pack, and deliver over $4,300 of books to eight organizations and agencies around Asheville and Buncombe County – all in one afternoon! The most impressive part: volunteers worked closely packed under a small pop-up tent while rain poured down around them.
  • Banned Books Week: This year’s National Banned Books Week focused on the power and literary merit of the many graphic novels and comic books that regularly come under scrutiny in communities around the globe. POP celebrated Banned Books Week with a fun, kid-friendly event at ZaPow! in downtown Asheville.
  • Added Drop Boxes: One of our goals this year was to expand the presence of our drop boxes around Asheville. In 2014, we were able to grow from three to five drop boxes in North and Central Asheville and Weaverville. For 2015, we hope to expand our drop boxes into East and South Asheville, as well.
  • 20,000 Books Delivered!: POP was very excited and proud to announce that our Day of Caring donations helped push our lifetime donation total above 20,000 books! Since POP began giving in 2009, we’ve donated over $106,000 books back into our community at no cost to readers!

POP’s Book Giving Program Keeps Growing!

201404232014 was another big year for book giving by the POP Project. Our goal was to increase our 2013 donations by 15 percent to 7,000 books. After our end-of-year count, we were just shy of that goal by only 13 books, but we’re going to count that as a win!

Our 2014 donations were nearly 7,000 books, and had a value of $34,935.

Here’s a breakdown of our donations for 2014 as compared to 2013:

2014 2013
Schools and Children’s Programs 3,950 3,557
State Prisons; Local Jails and Detention Centers 1,199 1,106
Community Nonprofits, Housing Centers, and Organizations in WNC 1,270 955
Other (including books sold at Rethink Ink) 568 490

Our First Holiday Fundraising Campaign

ThermometerPOP held our first-ever holiday fundraising campaign in 2014 and brought in quite a bit through end-of-year donations. The grand total of money raised through the campaign came to $1,156.70! We were very excited about the amount of money raised and would like to thank all our generous donors for their support. Those donations will cover our storage costs through May 24.

Unfortunately, that total still leaves us far short of our $3,500 budget goal for 2015. The POP Project receives no public funds and around 80% of our budget comes from private donations. Your one-time or recurring donation will help POP sustain our mission through 2015. Please consider giving today.


Our Thanks to You, Our Community, for a Great 2014!

Thank You pictureThank you to our supporters, donors, volunteers, and book givers for all their help last year. We collected and sorted through many, many books to determine their best homes. We delivered books to over two dozen organizations in our community. We made a difference to the lives of several thousand men, women, and children in Asheville, Buncombe County, and across Western North Carolina. And we couldn’t have done this without your help, support, and belief in the power of a good book.

Here’s to an even bigger and better year of giving in 2015!

Continuing the Momentum in 2015 – and How You can Help

Thanks to our great volunteers who helped us unpack and sort books!

Thanks to our great volunteers who helped us unpack and sort books!

POP made some great progress in 2014, but we still have a long way to go before everyone in WNC has sufficient access to books. We want to keep expanding our donation base, programs, and volunteer opportunities for the coming year, and we need help doing it.

Here are just a few of our goals for 2015, along with ways you can help us meet them:

  • Expand into additional counties in WNC: POP currently has a surplus of adult-level books. We plan to expand east and west to cover additional counties in Western North Carolina that could benefit from a greater access to those books. Do you know of any shelters, development centers, detention centers, or healthcare facilities in your county that could benefit from a few good books? Let us know how we can help.
  • Hold a spring “Rethink Ink” book sale fundraiser: POP accepts almost all kinds of books, and so we have collected many more than we can currently find homes for. Our “Rethink Ink” fundraiser encourages people to keep paper books alive during the digital revolution, while also serving as our largest fundraising event of the year. Look for more info, coming soon, about this year’s book sale fundraiser.
  • Increase the number of books we donate by 10%: In 2014, POP was able to find homes for nearly $35,000 worth of books. That’s great work, but we know we can do even better! By expanding our programs, and the reach of our donations, we plan to donate even more this year! If you are interested in helping us transport books, or you know any organizations that could benefit from a greater access to books, let us know.
  • More programming for Banned Books Week 2015: Banned Books Week is a national week devoted to showcasing the power of the printed word. The POP Project is committed to bringing Banned Books Week to life in Asheville by creating events and partnering with local organizations who work to ensure that banning books becomes an idea of the past.
  • Add additional drop box locations around Asheville: Our sincerest thanks to the Literacy Council, Norbury Books & Cafe, and Spellbound Children’s Bookshop for their continued support of the POP Project by hosting drop boxes in North and Central Asheville. POP would like to make drop boxes available to people on all sides of town. Contact us if your business or organization is interested in hosting a drop box.

The POP Project works to make sure no book goes without a home, goes unread, sits on a shelf and collects dust, and that all of the books we are entrusted with are used for constructive, personal expansion. If you can help with any of these projects, or if you think there are additional areas in which POP can serve WNC, contact us today!

Additional Ways to Help in 2015

There are many more ways to ensure that POP continues to make a positive impact on our community in 2015. Please consider donating time, money, or items that will directly impact our programs.