Newsletter of the Needham Rotary Club for October 5th, 2021
Recent Activities:
Our volunteers: Kathy, Holly (see photo below), Bill and Karen hosted visitors to our Rotary tent at the Needham Harvest Fair on October 3rd. Organized by the Charles River Chamber, the Fair showcases local businesses and community organizations while celebrating Fall with seasonal treats and attractions. Due to the pandemic, no Rotary Pancake Breakfast will be possible this November. Instead, we raffled off a "do-it-yourself" pancake breakfast to keep our event "front-of-mind" in Needham.
Our Speaker: Lisa Vergara, Founder, Storytime Crafts (from the left in the photo on the left below: Lisa Vergara, Holly Brown, Kathy Whitney and Karen Wetmore).
Lisa Vergara, the Founder and President of Storytime Crafts, spoke to us at our latest Tuesday Zoom meeting. Storytime Crafts is a charitable, 501c3 organization devoted to promoting literacy for children. They amplify the voices and stories of diverse children's book authors, while directing literacy resources throughout communities. Lisa grew up and resides in Needham. She founded Storytime Crafts in 2019, and -to date- it has donated: 62,000 books, 5,000 games, 4200 Rafi Nova masks, 3200 stuffed animals, 440 bikes, 47 story-time crafted chairs and tables (see photo above), and 10 Little Free Libraries. The emphasis is on promoting a love of books, the joy of reading, and literacy as an important skill of successful adults in underserved communities that would otherwise risk becoming "book deserts". When the COVID-19 quarantine caused a spike in unemployment, shut schools, and forced us to shelter in our homes, the mission broadened to include distribution of food, shelter assistance, masks and bikes, toys and games for children.
Lisa has a BFA in Graphic Design and a lifelong interest in crafts. She's a former Director of Needham's Summer Arts and Crafts Workshop, and she worked in Needham Public Schools. In Storytime Crafts, she combined her passion for children's books and craft to answer the question: "How do I make a story come to life?" Her unique fund-raising ideas illustrate this mix: "Little Free Libraries" are an attractive conglomeration of mailbox and display case. Storytime crafted chairs and tables each include beautiful images from a children's story, and the furniture is accompanied by the appropriate book. Businesses can sponsor a Little Free Library for $2000, individuals can sponsor one for $1000. A sponsor can donate a story time crafted chair for $750.
A major activity of Storytime Crafts is the recycling of donated, "gently-used" books and the donation of new books from a "Wish List" authored by folks with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to underserved communities in the Boston Metro area. A key activity for volunteers is organizing "book drives" where used and new books are collected for redistribution. There's a full description of how best to run a drive on the website (http://storytimecrafts.net).  Storytime Crafts has two places where you can donate books in Needham. There's a red book shed in the parking lot of Gorse Mill Studios at 31 Thorpe Road, and a new donation center in the basement of Christ Episcopal Church at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Rosemary Street.
To contribute financial support, you can: 1.) donate via a secure tab in the website, 2.) give using Venmo (@storytime-crafts), or 3.) mail a check to Storytime Crafts, 31 Thorpe Road, Studio 105, Needham, MA. 02492. To communicate with Lisa about sponsoring a Little Free Library, a chair or a book drive: lvstorytime@gmail.com.
Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Speakers at our regular (Zoom) meetings at noon on Tuesdays):
  1. October 12th: Jody Labossiere, CEO West River Hospice. Jody will describe hospice care.
  2. October 19th: State Representative Denise Garlick will update us on the legislative agenda at the Statehouse.
    Our Next Meeting: Tuesday October 12th at noon.