AUBURN---As he kneels next to the growing piles of children’s books on tables in a parish meeting room in Auburn, Deacon Denis Mailhot is overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness that the stories of adventure, faith, and fun represent.
“We’ve already received over 200 books donated by our parishioners,” said Deacon Denis, who is the outreach coordinator for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (Sacred Heart Church and St. Philip Church, both in Auburn).
The growing collection will not remain stacked for long. The children’s books will head to Catholic Charities Maine childcare centers in Biddeford (St. Louis Child Development Center) and Portland (St. Elizabeth Child Development Center), as well as to community food pantries to be given to families in need.
“We will be collecting books in Auburn through Labor Day Weekend,” said Bill Wood of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry. “All people have to do is place their books in the book collection boxes at the churches and we’ll take it from there. Any book appropriate for ages six weeks to seven years would be wonderful. Ensuring that all children begin to develop a love for reading is so important.”
“It’s great to see so many parishioners taking advantage of this initiative to help Catholic Charities provide books for children to further their reading skills and development,” said Deacon Denis. “When children learn to read at a young age, it helps them to develop learning skills and, hopefully, encourages them to further their education after graduation.”
The book collection is one of many Mustard Seed Projects conducted by Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program. The projects engage and educate people of all ages in learning the importance of serving one another. Other examples of parish collections have included socks for the homeless, food for area food pantries, and items for new refugees arriving in Maine.
To become involved in the book collection or another Mustard Seed Project, contact Bill Wood at (207) 523-1175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.