A retired special education teacher, Lisa Gerard moved to the metro four years ago and began volunteering with local organization Laundry Love, which helps cover the costs of washing and drying clothes at area laundromats for families. Gerard quickly noticed children waiting for their families’ laundry to be done without much to do, so she began providing a storytime to the kids and then brought a wagon full of books along so the children could take home a book of their own.
In July 2020, Little Read Wagon was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Gerard’s impact has continued to expand, partnering with the Northeast Resource Center to collect books to place back in the hands of community members and attending several events at Nappy Roots bookstore to pass out free books to kids.
“Our goal is to increase book and literacy access to underserved and marginalized populations,” said Gerard. “We also want to provide a good selection of books by and representing people of color.”
The organization’s Look for a Book program hides children’s books in metro parks and public spaces for kids to find, carefully protected from the weather. Gerard has also cultivated relationships with organizations serving the metro homeless population, providing them books, and she works with parents and grandparents to choose books to spark their children and grandchildren’s excitement about reading.
“As a former teacher, I try to help people choose books that their little ones will enjoy and to educate parents and caregivers about the benefits of book ownership and reading aloud,” said Gerard. “I love seeing people excited to read and learn, whatever age they are.”
Learn more about the organization’s programs and how you can help at facebook.com/LittleReadWagon.