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The Little Bit Foundation launches virtual storytime to help St. Louis kids

"Little Bit is at its best when there’s a crisis, and when we have to answer that crisis"

ST. LOUIS — Thousands of students in need rely on The Little Bit Foundation’s book fairs every semester, during which the organization hands out tens of thousands of books. 

The nonprofit estimates there is only one book for every 300 children living in low-income neighborhoods; by comparison, they say there are 13 books for every kid living in middle-income areas.

As part of its mission, Little Bit uses its book fairs to close the gap, but closed schools also mean closed book fairs. That doesn’t phase CEO and co-founder Rose Hanley.

“Little Bit is at its best when there’s a crisis, and when we have to answer that crisis,” she said. “And every day in our children’s lives, there are crises.”

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Little Bit is adapting. Instead of reading to kids in schools at book fairs, the foundation is meeting students at home through the foundation’s Facebook page

Little Bit is launching a new program: Little Bit Storytime. Staff and volunteers record videos of themselves reading a children’s book, then upload the video to Facebook, where students can watch.

“What we’re trying to do is build a community around our kids, make sure they know we’re still here for them,” Hanley said.

She’s asking people throughout the Greater St. Louis region to join that community and lend their voices and faces to the project, too.

“It’s helping them see a routine. Every night at 5 o’clock, let’s log onto Facebook and see who’s reading us a story tonight,” Hanley said. “Help them know that we haven’t left. We’re still along this journey with them. We see their potential. We love them, even though we can’t be with them.”

To send a video of yourself reading a book, contact The Little Bit Foundation directly.

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