Food for Thought



Christian Outreach Program:
The People Behind the Mission


Meet Beth, Food for Thought

Literacy Initiative Program Lead


          Beth is a Smithfield native who currently lives in Chesterfield, but can’t seem to stay away. She often spends weekends in town and volunteers at COP every few weeks to oversee and organize the library of children’s books housed there. Beth is passionate about literacy, the importance of reading aloud to children, and developing home libraries. Beth states, “Research shows that in middle-income communities there are approximately 13 age-appropriate books per child. However, in low-income communities the ratio drops drastically to 1 age-appropriate book per 300 children! COP realizes the importance of children’s literacy and is committed to empowering the children it serves through literacy, which, in turn, strengthens the community.”

          Every Food Service and Diaper Program recipient is encouraged by the terrific front desk and Diaper Program volunteers to choose 2 books per child to take with them each month. COP provides a display of books for a wide range of ages in the registration area. The volunteers, including Beth’s friend and assistant Nancy, rotate the selection of books on a regular basis. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to read aloud to children. Tips on reading aloud are prominently posted above the book bins. Beth considers the Food for Thought Program the “proactive” segment of COP’s services. She hopes that by strengthening the children’s literacy skills, their dependency on others to provide for them in the future will be lessened greatly.

          Beth states that she has been “thrilled with the support from the community in providing new and gently read books for the Food For Thought Program.” She also realizes that the program would not be possible without the front desk and Diaper Program volunteers as literacy advocates. Many families have been affected by this program, and we hope to bring you some individual stories in the future.