Magazine Literacy & Kitchen Gallery Team Up to Support Job Training, Homeless, Reading
John Mennell hasn't been letting the grass grow under his feet. Since I last spoke to him, the founder of The Magazine Publishers Family Literacy Project has moved ahead on lots of fronts. He's got a cute new video explaining his initiative. He's working to provide magazines for kids' organizations, high schools, Native Americans, senior citizens, foster care programs, and job training for the homeless.
And he's planning to change the world-one magazine and one reader at a time.
Most recently he's started a pilot program with Kitchen Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin-a program that he envisions rolling out nationally to essentially any (and-why think small?-every) newsstand in America. His idea is to partner with a shop to collect donated and recycled magazines to use for local programs to support their goals and promote literacy. The Kitchen Gallery program, for example, collects copies of cooking magazines from the consumers who have bought and read them, readers who would like to do more with their used magazines than put them in the nearest dumpster.
These donations go to chef training programs for unemployed and homeless students. They go to children, teens, and families in nutrition education programs run by food banks and food pantries in Madison and nationwide. John explains that he sees this practice as analogous to "food gleaning," a practice that dates back thousands of years. "Crops in the field are gathered by humanitarians to feed hungry people," he explains. "Except this harvest feeds neighbors hungry to read favorite culinary magazines."
An evangelist of magazines and literacy, John sees this program as nourishing to both body and mind. "No two ingredients are more vital for human life and spirit than food and reading. The Kitchen Gallery is the go-to shop for Madisonians and capital visitors looking for just the right kitchen tool or gift. We are so pleased to have this perfect partner for jumpstarting our culinary magazine drive that we plan to replicate it coast to coast."
Mennell is not afraid of working on a grassroots level. And while the Kitchen Gallery project is local to Madison, he sees it as a model that can be replicated anywhere and at any level. "Every wave starts with a ripple -- every forest starts with one seed -- and this is it. We just delivered 2,000 magazines to the Inuit north of the Arctic Circle at the origin of the polar vortex. We can get magazines from anywhere to anywhere."
He'd like us all to get involved. Talk about it, blog about it, donate money, donate time.
Or drop by the Kitchen Gallery at 107 King Street in Madison, Wisconsin, and drop off your gently used copy of your favorite cooking magazine. They'll know what to do with it.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.