(Memphis) A South Memphis church is hoping to change our city, one book at a time.
The Word Church on Park Avenue collected 3,000 children's books over the past few months and plans to hand them all out this week.
The pastor's goal is to end poverty and crime in our city.
“It opens an opportunity for them to think outside the box,” said Pastor Aaron Litzsey.
The pastor said he believes the boxes filled with books at his church hold the key to the future for inner city kids.
“I don't have to stay in the situation I am now. I can go beyond that."
For many Memphis children, they've never left this city, much less their own neighborhoods.
Pastor Litzsey believes a book can take them around the world to places beyond poverty and what they know from the streets.
"We are committed to transforming the landscape of the inner city.”
The Word Church, located on the outskirts of Orange Mound, is handing out free books to parents and children who want them.
Monica Weston is a single mom who works odd jobs to support four growing kids.
“It’s a good experience because not all the time am I able to go to the bookstores and provide and pick out good books,” said Weston. “These are very exceptional books.”
“Most of them are in survival mode and are simply trying to make ends meet,” said Litzsey.
Pastor Litzsey believes books in a child's home is a way out.
He says this project was inspired by statistics.
Many children in Memphis are reading way below grade level and nationwide, the majority of those who end-up in prison read poorly.
Pastor Litzsey says books are key to changing Memphis and changing the lives of children.
“We want to do this annually, every year,” he said.
“What parents don't want their child to excel?” asked Weston.
If you would like a book for your child, the Word Church says it would be happy to give you a handful. You can contact the church by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 901-314-8552.
Also check out Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.