Incalculable Value: Helping a Local Nonprofit Grow to Industrial Scale

BookSmiles has been providing children and educators throughout the greater Philadelphia area with books since August 2019 – but in recent years, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit and its mission of promoting literacy and the joy of reading has become so popular, it was time for a new, larger space.

Founder and Executive Director Larry Abrams moved the organization from where it started (his garage!) into a new 4,300 sq. ft. facility in Pennsauken, N.J.

“In the beginning, we were receiving donations of new or gently-used books from school book drives or individual drives a child might host,” Abrams says. “All books are organized and donated back to children and educators, with an emphasis on those representing Title I schools. “Now that we’re importing on an industrial level, this newly expanded space allows for tractor trailer loads of used children’s books.”

Luckily, MHS Lift – BookSmiles’ new neighbor in Pennsauken – stepped in and volunteered its services to help the growing nonprofit. MHS Lift Co-President Andy Levin and Systems Engineer Drew toured BookSmiles’ facility to assess the space and design an efficient shelving plan. Additionally, MHS Lift donated all shelving and a pallet stacker for the organization’s new space.

MHS Lift team member Joe delivered the materials, and even made sure the BookSmiles team was OSHA-certified and trained on the pallet stacker. “Their customer service was wonderful. MHS Lift’s sense of professionalism was what I want our nonprofit to look like,” Abrams says.

“What MHS Lift gave us was incalculable in value,” he continues. “We’re now equipped to harvest, sort and distribute 1 million books a year. And we’re saving books from going into the trash and pulpers. People saw no value in these old books, but we see ‘book-wealth.’”

Learn more about BookSmiles and how you can donate new and gently-used books to students in need here.