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Pi Beta Phi Donates 5,000 New Books to Hurricane Irma Survivors

Published On: 2018-04-09

Pi Beta Phi® Fraternity for Women donated 5,000 brand-new books to Miami-area nonprofits with literacy programs serving children from low-income families who were affected by Hurricane Irma. For many of these students, these are the first new books they have ever owned and are the first step to creating a lifelong love of reading.

Miami was chosen as the book donation location because it is an area of great need. Since Hurricane Irma made landfall last September, it has caused $50 billion in damage in the greater Miami area. Many families lost everything and were forced to live in temporary or makeshift housing, without power or water for some. The cleanup and rebuilding process is a multi-year project for the millions of people affected by the catastrophic storm.

Hurricane Irma affected Community Healing Project, Inc., in unimaginable ways. The storage unit where the nonprofit housed its donated clothes, laptops, books and dry foods was destroyed. It was forced to close its doors which was challenging for the many families who depend on the group for resources. Now, months later, Community Healing Project continues to recover from the effects of the storm. Pi Beta Phi's book donation was used for the group's Spring into Reading program which reinforces the importance of books and makes reading fun again for low-income students.

"Education is not a choice, it’s a necessity," said Dyrell Johnson, Founder and President of Community Healing Project. "We believe that each and every child is owed a quality education. It’s our mission to make sure every child is on the correct reading level and ready to step into life as educated, confident adults. Reading matters, education matters and our children's futures matter.

Pi Beta Phi is helping put books into the hands of these deserving children in partnership with First Book®, a nonprofit providing new books to its national network of schools and programs. Over the past several years, Pi Beta Phi has donated well over $1 million to literacy causes through The Literacy Fund at Pi Beta Phi Foundation, given more than one million books to children in need and

impacted over one million lives through its philanthropy Read > Lead > Achieve®.

"Our Fraternity of more than 300,000 women is united in the cause to promote the importance ofreading," said Pi Beta Phi President Paula Shepherd. "According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, one in four children grows up functionally illiterate, and we believe that is one toomany. Pi Beta Phi is thrilled to participate in this book donation because we believe readingtransforms inpiduals, creates leaders and is the foundation of all that we can achieve in life."

To learn more about the Miami area recipient groups who received books from Pi Beta Phi, please see below.

Miami-Dade County Recipient Groups

  • Morningside K–8 Academy, an international education language magnet school
  • Community Healing Project, Inc., a nonprofit created to rebuild and reestablish economic, education and health awareness in urban communities
  • United Way of Miami-Dade, which partners with hundreds of inpiduals and organizations to complete work in education, financial stability and health for children and families
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which is the fourth largest school district in the U.S. comprised of 392 schools, 345,000 students and more than 40,000 employees
  • Hispanic Unity of Florida, which serves perse and multi-cultural working families by providing wrap-around services for clients ranging in age from preschoolers to adults

Additionally, Pi Beta Phi donated books to recipient groups in the Houston area in response to Hurricane Harvey. Information about those recipient groups are found below.

Houston Recipient Groups 

  • Browning Elementary Dual Language and Global Academy, part of the Houston Independent School District
  • YES Prep Brays Oaks, part of an open-enrollment public charter school system serving students in grades six through twelve in underserved communities
  • Sheldon Independent School District, which provides personalized learning opportunities to ensure all students graduate college and are career ready
  • SMART Family Literacy, which is dedicated to education for young children and their families through innovative, hands-on activities in science, math, art, reading and technology
  • Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc., a multi-program agency serving more than 100,000 persons of perse racial and ethnic characteristics, experiences and occupations

About Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women: Founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois, Pi Beta Phi has installed 205 collegiate chapters and nearly 300 alumnae clubs worldwide. Pi Beta Phi promotes friendship, develops women of intellect and integrity, cultivates leadership potential and enriches the lives of members and their communities. The Fraternity believes in the power of reading and through its philanthropy, Read > Lead > Achieve, promotes a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential. Our charge is for each and every Pi Beta Phi to find a way they can participate, donate or advocate for Read > Lead > Achieve.For more information, visit www.pibetaphi.org or follow Pi Phi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.