Rapid Response (COVID-19)


Rapid Response Strategy

Book Harvest’s Rapid Response Strategy tackles the unprecedented suspension of in-school learning that children face in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time more than ever, access to books is fundamental to keeping learning alive for every child – for maintaining and improving reading skills, for finding comfort in a bedtime story, for fueling imaginations during the longer-than-ever time away from classroom learning.

Abundant book provision is at the core of Book Harvest’s work; we have provided more than 1.3 million books to North Carolina children since our launch in 2011. We remain passionate about ensuring that every child has bountiful access to books.

Book Harvest’s Rapid Response Strategy — our response to COVID-19, with the theme of Keep Learning Alive — launched on June 1, 2020 and will continue throughout the fall. There are two components to the strategy: Well Fed, Well Read Durham and Grab and Go. Click to learn more about each component, or navigate to Get Books to find out where and when you can get books for your children.


Well Fed, Well Read Durham


While schools are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, parents are doing everything they can to support their children — and we are here for them now, as we have always been. That’s why we have developed Well Fed, Well Read Durham, a coordinated, multi-agency collaboration that adds books to the meals that our partners are providing to families.

Well Fed, Well Read Durham provides bags of age-appropriate, culturally responsive, new and gently used books to our community’s families in conjunction with the nutritious meals they are receiving. Children will build home libraries that keep their imaginations alive and their skills flourishing, and parents will have tools to help with at-home education and to ensure shared reading time and comforting bedtime stories.

Every child we reach will receive at least three age-appropriate, high-quality books to help them push back against the devastating disruptions to learning that they have been experiencing since schools were shuttered in March 2020. Our goal is simple: to ensure that as many children as possible can have books to help keep their learning alive until schools fully reopen. We are determined to “follow the food” so that every family receiving meals will also receive books.

Well Fed, Well Read initially ran from May 1 until August 11, 2020. During that time, Book Harvest provided 22,623 books. The initiative began again during the winter of 2020. Every week, Durham children and their families receive a bundle of new and gently used age-appropriate books with the meals they receive from one of our community partners.

Our partners include:

  • Durham Public Schools, which serves lunch to children at school locations all summer long;
  • Durham Public Schools Foundation’s Durham FEAST initiative, which provided twice weekly meal pickups at school locations through May, as well as weekly food deliveries directly to the homes of families without transportation access and/or with other limitations;
  • World Relief Durham, which provides groceries to refugee families.
  • Eat NC, an organization that connects people to good food, especially during times of crisis.

You can read and download a one-page summary of Well Fed, Well Read here.

Want to learn more or discuss a partnership for Well Fed, Well Read? Contact Amy Franks, Learning Partnerships Manager, at amy@bookharvest.org.


Rapid Response Center: Books 24/7 and Grab-and-Go

Parents, we are here for you – with books!

We know that access to books is fundamental to keeping learning alive for every child – for maintaining and improving reading skills, for finding comfort in a bedtime story, and for fueling imaginations and providing opportunities for adventures. That’s why we have two options for you to get books for your family:

24/7 Bookshelves

There are two book carts located outside our Rapid Response Center. They are available 24/7, stocked regularly, and contain books in Spanish/English for ages 0-18. There are also several activity books!


Grab-and-Go book pickups at our Rapid Response Center occur once per month during the spring. See flyer/calendar for dates.


When you arrive, please follow the instructions on the sign: remain in your car and call (252) 497-BOOK. A volunteer will answer your call, ask the ages of your children, and bring out bags of age-appropriate books to place in your car.

Have you already visited Grab-and-Go? We’d love to have your feedback. Please take three minutes to complete this survey in English or Spanish and let us know how your visit went!

Hover over any item on the calendar below to see more details about time and location:

April 2021

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  • Book Harvest: Rapid Response Center

Our Rapid Response Center is located next to our headquarters, in the Rockwood Shopping Center at 2501 University Drive in Durham. See the calendar below for the Grab-and Go schedule.

Want more info? Contact Caitlyn Bergmann, Book Bank Manager, at caitlyn@bookharvest.org.

Get Books for Your Family!