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BookSmiles’ creator awarded kindness grant

Larry Abrams was awarded a Kindness Grant by "Matt's Kindnesss Ripples On"

Earlier this month, Cherry Hill resident and BookSmiles Director Larry Abrams was awarded a Kindness Grant by the Matt’s Kindness Ripples On Organization (MKRO).

MKRO was founded by husband and wife Jackie and Ron Kurtz, in honor of their son Matt, who died in 2017. The organization gives out awards and grants to people who make kindness a way of life, just as Matt did while he was alive. The grants are selected from submitted proposals for a kindness project.

In just a few short years, Abrams’ nonprofit went from distributing 500 books a month out of the English teacher’s Lindenwold classroom to 85,000 books a month out of a South Jersey warehouse. Abrams created his charity in 2017 to get books into the hands of children who lack them. It is now one of the largest book banks in the country.

Abrams will use MKRO’s $500 grant to purchase a new collection bin – essential for collecting books throughout the area – and have it designed and painted by Leah Fichter at 168 Tattoo.

“Matt loved The Grateful Dead and Leah captured his spirit in her design,” explained Abrams.

BookSmiles currently operates out of a 4,300 square foot warehouse in Pennsauken and also distributes books in Philadelphia.

“As we emerge from our startup phase, we continue to look for exciting ways to strengthen our existing network made up of thousands of teachers, book donors, non-profit organizations, book nerds, and volunteer sorters,” Abrams said.

BookSmiles expects to distribute nearly one million books to nearly 200,000 children this year. For more information, visit BookSmiles.org, contact Abrams at Larry@booksmiles.org or call (856) 986-2707.

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