Each year, as part of Lend A Hand’s book mission, LAH makes grants to a wide range of nonprofit organizations purchasing books for lending libraries serving low-income communities. In 2022, grants totaling $3,250 were made to Cumberland College, Hale House Barnard Services, and the Prison Book Program to promote literacy and a love of books.

The book mission was founded by Sarah Brigham in 1890. This program sent new and used books to schools, libraries, YMCA’s, prisons, and native American reservations around the country. These institutions served all communities, regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic background, which was very progressive for its time. Originally, books themselves were sent but in later years, the Book Mission has sent money to purchase books and help institutions on a continuing basis.

Cumberland College, a Tennessee university with a history of community service and
individualized education, utilizes a LAH grant to increase learning opportunities for students through the purchase of books for its school library. In 2022, the library was able to purchase over $250 worth of reference books.

Hale House, a residence for seniors was able to use their LAH grant to purchase newsletter and periodical subscriptions like the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and the New York Times to add to the library collection. These purchases allow their 56 senior residents to have access to local and national newspapers as well as magazines. Many of the residents have limited mobility and income, and use reading as a way to stay engaged and informed. Now, senior residents will not have to wait as long to access the newspapers that are shared collectively across 20-30 residents daily in the house. In 2022, the library requested $1,000 worth of subscriptions. 

The Prison Book Program sends free books to over 15,000 incarcerated readers across the United States. A LAH grant addresses their limited access, as libraries within prisons are few and far between or rarely adequate, and loved ones are not allowed to send books directly into prisons. Books purchased allow those incarcerated to study, gain new skill sets, and attain personal growth. In 2022, the prison sent a book request for $2,000.

Thanks to the legacy of Sarah Brigham and others, LAH remains dedicated to making reading education more accessible for all members of our community.