NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk bookstore is giving back to the Norfolk community in a big way.
Every book inside their shop is given away free of charge, so families always have something to read. It's called the 'Big Free Bookstore.'
Dr. Jennifer Goff is the head of REACH (Reading Enriches All Children), which is the nonprofit behind the bookstore.
"We believe that literacy is freedom," Dr. Goff said.
The store has titles for everyone from toddlers to adults.
"Cause the best way for kids to learn how to read is kind of modeling that behavior from family," Goff said. "The way that we set it up is that it's just kind of like a gradient of the ages," Dr. Goff said.
Everyone gets two brand-new books, twice a week.
The storefront may look small but behind the scenes, Dr. Goff has thousands of unique titles that her team rotates weekly, so families always have something new to choose from.
Since opening in November, the bookstore has given away more than 16,000 books, worth more than $180,000 to more than 2,000 families.
"Books can cost 20 bucks a piece so this is a nice way for our community to know that no matter what, we've got their back," Dr. Goff said. "We're here and this is a resource."
It started as a holiday initiative, that was set to end after Christmas, but the community wanted them to stay.
"It was overwhelming the amount of letters asking for us to stay," Dr. Goff said. "Here's a perfect one: 'I've never experienced a free bookstore, I brought my four year old son to get a book today and he was so excited. I would hate to see this store go. Please keep it alive. This community needs this.'"
But they can't do it alone. The bookstore runs entirely on donations. As part of Give Local 757 -- a massive fundraising effort -- you donate money so Goff can keep buying books to give away to kids.
Give Local 757 officially starts in 15 days, to donate to REACH so they can continue to fund the bookstore, visit givelocal757.org.
"The way we are empowering them is by giving them the world and letting them know that this is what the world is, now go out, change it," Dr. Goff said.
You can visit the bookstore during normal store hours at Military Circle Mall.