Township council began their regular meeting on Feb. 14 with Mount Laurel Mayor Kareem Pritchett reading a statement to acknowledge Black history during a month set aside for just that.
“This observance (Black History Month) offers a call to action for society to become more educated on the heritage and history and to honor many Black leaders who contributed to the culture, economic, and intellectual advancement of our nation,” Pritchett read.
“The observance of Black History Month calls our town’s attention to the continued need to battle racism and build a community that welcomes every person and family regardless of race.”
In another statement, the mayor commended Mt. Laurel’s Cub Scouts, Pack 15 for partnering with the BookSmiles organization for a book-drive event.
“They collected books that would be provided to the children, families and schools in need, aiding and promoting literacy and the joy of reading,” the statement said. “I want to thank every one of the Cub Scouts for doing what you do, the leaders for supporting and leading the way.”
“There’s so many young people in this township that do amazing things,” Pritchett added, “and it definitely touches my heart to see this.”
According to BookSmiles, a Cherry Hill-based nonprofit that provides books for needy kids, the Scouts helped collect more than 6,000 books, the largest amount by any group since the organization was founded in 2017.
Jeffrey Shaman, Cub Master for Pack 15, expressed his delight that its members were recognized for their hard work while still in their first year as Scouts.
“I am extremely proud of our Scouts,” Shaman said. “They understand the value of supporting our community and have turned that knowledge into action. As a family Cub Scout Pack that started last summer, we are excited to continue and expand our involvement with Mount Laurel and surrounding communities.”
Founder Larry Abrams said BookSmiles always needs unwanted, gently used books.
“In the past five years, this nonprofit has collected and distributed nearly one million books,” he noted. “If there are children who have a lot of books, bring them to us. We collect mountains of books and distribute them to kids in need.”
Any residents interested in donating books can bring them to the nonprofit’s drop box at Lightbridge Academy off Church Road.
Councilwoman Fozia Janjua also praised the Cub Scouts and encouraged residents to become more educated about Black history during the month-long observance.
“I want to commend the Cub Scouts for collecting all those books; paying it forward is something that’s really important and education is key for that,” she said. “I also implore everybody to learn more about the history of African Americans, not only in the United States, but also in our town.”
In other news:
- Council approved a resolution authorizing a shared-services agreement with the Mount Laurel Township Municipal Authority for grass-cutting services.
- Council also approved a resolution for the township to join Cherry Hill’s cooperative pricing agreement.