Book Ends started in 1998 with one then 8-year-old boy, one school and one end recipient. Now, to expand the group's reach and ability to collect books for kids and schools that need them, the charity has asked the entire community of Brentwood to hold a neighborhood-wide book drive.
"Brentwood is actualy our pilot program," said Robin Keefe, founder and president of Book Ends.
The group organizes book drives at schools, asking students to bring in books that they have outgrown and donate them. The books are then sorted and sent to schools where there aren't enough books for the students.To date the group has collected and distributed over two million books to over 500,000 children in the Los Angeles area.
Now, Keefe explained, by working with Brentwood homeowner's associations and businesses, the outreach can expand "geometrically the people involved."
Teri Kahn Redman, of the Brentwood Community Council, has agreed to work with Keefe to set up the outreach. She has worked with Book Ends in the past while working for the Brentwood School.
"Book Ends has a neat gig going," she said, about the group's specific focus of collecting books for underserved schools. "That's why they're a very effective organization."
She said that she's in the process of connecting with Keefe to organize the wider collection. She volunteered to coordinate the outreach partly because of her connections with the different schools in the Brentwood neighborhood.
"I learned how people on this side of town love to give," she said. "There's a highly evolved social conscience, so it's a very positive experience."
However, Kahn-Redman said that working with the businesses and other organizations would present a new challenge for her.
The drive is expected to happen in late April and early May.
"Then we'll all come together on May 20th to sort the books," Keefe said.
The organization is based in south Los Angeles, and Keefe said she doesn't live in Brentwood. But she still thought it was a logical place to try out her new plan.
"The Brentwood neighborhood is awesome," Keefe said.
"The BCC will take a lead in trying to arrange for all the organizations in Brentwood to participate," said Nancy Freedman, chair of the Brentwood Community Council. "I think this is a very important program for Brentwood to participate in because charity begins at home and we need to look inside ourselves and be appreciative and try to help others that don't have books."