Northwestern Mutual donates 4,000 books to Next Door Foundation

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In several neighborhoods in Milwaukee's central city, access to libraries, or even books, are few and far between.  One of the city's largest companies is working to change that.

On Wednesday, February 20th, there was a special delivery in the Metcalfe Park community.

“We have employees here today that are going to deliver over 4,000 books,” Tim Schaefer, Northwestern Mutual’s Chief Information Officer said.

Box after box containing more than 4,000 books were dropped off at Next Door Foundation near 29th and Clarke streets.  It's all through the generous donation of Northwestern Mutual employees.

“They all collected books, donated books with a focus on books for younger children and up through age 12,” Schaefer said.

As part of Black History Month, the company held a book drive lasting several weeks and chose Next Door Foundation as its recipient.  It's an organization that provides educational services to more than 1,200 low-income children from birth to five years old.

“The families want the best for their kids.  They want them to grow up to be good readers, but they don't always have access.  So this gives them a jumpstart,” Next Door Foundation Executive Director Carol Keintz said.

“Metcalfe Park is one of those areas that really is challenged by not having books and other support services, and so we've chosen it as our commitment to education as well as the community,” Schaefer said.

From new to gently used, the donated books, for the most part, will be a permanent fixture to the organization's lending library.  Volunteers read to the kids, but they can even take the books home.

“I read books all the time, every day,” four-year-old Eric said.

“Many of them don't own books.  They may not have a library card, so it's a huge clink in what we need to raise,” Keintz said.