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literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

Giving Guide 2015: For readers and writers

Giving Guide 2015: For readers and writers

Welcome to the first PAPER/PLATES Giving Guide!

For the past two years, I've been publishing gift guides of all sorts for food and book lovers. It's so much fun to compile lists of all the humble and fanciful things that caught my eye in those past holiday seasons, and I plan to do it again this year.

But I also wanted to do something different this year, to give some attention to the groups and causes that deserve our support and attention for the great work they do. When I was planning this post, I didn't realize it would coincide with Giving Tuesday — but that's a happy coincidence because it fits perfectly with my goal of mixing in some giving with all the getting that goes on in these winter months.

Today's Giving Guide is focused on literacy, a basic and necessary skill that can change lives.

The ability to read and write can open doors in terms of education, employment and enjoyment. Without it, this blog, my career as a journalist and most everything else I have achieved in life would be impossible. I am infinitely thankful for these skills and hope you'll join me in supporting others as they learn to read and write.

Here are three ways you can give:

Give to First Book.

This top-rated charity puts 97 percent of its budget toward giving kids access to new books. First Book says it delivers more than 35,000 books a day across the U.S. and Canada. You can help by donating money (every $10 means four books for low-income kids) or by purchasing a gift from the First Book Gift Catalog in honor of someone you love.

Volunteer at your local 826 chapter.

This national non-profit, founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, offers writing support to under-resourced kids ages 6 to 18. 826 has chapters in seven metro areas including Chicago, Boston, New York, D.C. and San Francisco. The group needs volunteers who can tutor after school, taking kids on field trips, work with kids learning English as a second language and more. Find your 826 chapter then apply to volunteer.

Donate used books to local resellers.

There are plenty of places that accept used books in good condition and will resell them to support their various programs or they'll donate them to needy readers. Most of these groups have book drops, and some will even come pick them up from you!

Some Chicago-based organizations that accept book donations are Open Books, Pilsen Community Books, Chicago Books to Women in Prison, The Newberry Library, Pacific Garden Mission (a homeless shelter), Lurie Children's Hospital and Uncharted Books.

Now it's my turn to ask you: What are some literacy-focused organizations you love to support?

Image via Pexels.

Gift guide 2015: For readers and writers

Gift guide 2015: For readers and writers

"Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence" by Nick Bantock & sundried tomato and spinach pinwheels

"Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence" by Nick Bantock & sundried tomato and spinach pinwheels