Rebecca’s Mission donates books to local children in need


Courtesy of Rebecca Benjamin

Benjamin and students pose in front of the bookmobile

Featured in Eastside 2020 issue

Rebecca Benjamin, a junior at Moorestown Friends Highschool (MFS), always had a passion for reading. Her passion for reading, combined with her philanthropic values, made it simple for Rebecca to decide on a way to help others. Her parents – a teacher and charity owner, respectively – passed down their charitable ways to Rebecca and her sister, Ali, a freshman at MFS. It all began when Rebecca’s family started a new Hanukkah tradition to do 7 nights of receiving gifts and one night of giving. One year, Rebecca donated school supplies to an underprivileged family.

Courtesy of Rebecca Benjamin
Benjamin reads to elementary school students.

“I wasn’t satisfied with the fact that I only got to help one family, so I just started from there,” said Rebecca. After this realization, her charity, Rebecca’s Mission began.
Since its founding, Rebecca’s Mission has given books and the opportunity to learn to underprivileged communities. This is reflected in their mission statement, which is “to provide literacy opportunities to underserved communities.”
“I try to keep it local because I like the fact that it is a homegrown foundation and it is so close-knit. The fact that we keep it local allows for the community aspect, in the communities we go into, but we have a community ourselves. I like the fact that I am able to be at every single event. I want not only my name but my face to be present,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca added, “I feel that one of our benefits is that [Rebecca’s Mission] has a familial aspect. It is not just me even though the charity is under my name. Without the support of my family and the community, none of this would be possible.”
Rebecca said her favorite part of the charity is “when all our hard work comes together and we get to interact with the kids or the community we are entering. It really fuels me for the next one.”
To help with the events, the family created the Bookmobile by revamping a senior citizen van with the help of a family friend who stripped it. It now has shelves on the inside, hardwood floors and lights, making it a mobile library. They also have an awning and outside furniture for spring events and summer events. With this tool, the charity can reach more people. The Bookmobile is just another extension of Rebecca’s mission; they still donate in mass. It helps them immerse themselves into the community and become a consistent part of each community they enter.
At their most recent event at a Camden school in December 2019, Rebecca Benjamin said “all the kids came out to the Bookmobile. And a kid said wait we get to bring these home! And I said yeah! These are all for you and he hugs me… he is beaming with pride that he gets to keep it!”
The most difficult aspect of the charity to manage is entering communities.
“Because I am in school, I usually reach out to teachers or figureheads of the communities over email. It is hard to communicate your goals over email, and then we have to wait for their response,” said Rebecca.
“Another difficulty is staying current. I am 16, so it is hard to guess what books they want to read. For example, there was this book Dogman. I never heard of the book. The kids wanted more of it. So with our donations, we will buy more copies of those books and popular books like it,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca’s Mission charity has been picking up steam. At their most recent event, Channel 6 News came and covered it.
“It was really fun and the kids were so excited to be on TV and something special they do not get every day. I was very touched and encouraged by [Channel 6 News] words of encouragement,”
Rebecca sees how the power of literature flows into the communities she enters. At the latest event for a kindergarten class, there was one kid who only spoke Spanish. He just came from Mexico living on the streets, and the most american culture he knew was Spiderman. It just so happened that one of the kids in his class took the last Spiderman book, but when that child learned of the circumstance he happily gave the spiderman book to the new student instead. That is just some of the lessons that come from books into real life, the importance of sharing and community.
Rebecca’s Mission aims to promote diversity in literature and the importance of kids seeing themselves in the books they read.
“I want to be able to give the children the opportunity to see themselves in these books, so monetary donations are very helpful so we can go out and buy these books that correlate to them and their lives,” said Rebecca.
“To get involved is to support us, with the bookmobile there [are] a lot of added expenses like gas and insurance. We have so much support from the community my whole basement is overflowing with books. It is great but monetary donations because we know how to fill in the gaps in our book collection.”
Rebecca’s Mission delivers new opportunities to children through the pages of a book, and continues to inspire the next generation of readers.