aside The Book It 5k Celebrates 5 Years September 19

Church of the Holy Communion event benefits Memphis youth organizations

Last year, the Book It 5K raised more than $30,500 for Shelby County Books from Birth and the Emmanuel Center in inner-city Memphis. That’s a growth of $10,000 since the year the Book It 5K launched, in 2011.

This Saturday, Church of the Holy Communion will host its fourth annual Book It 5K walk/run, again supporting both nonprofits and their outreach to children and youth in Memphis and Shelby County.

The 5K begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and awards will be given in age groups and overall. Children 10 and under have the opportunity to race in the 200-meter dash. At the finish line: food, music, line dancing, face painting and balloon animals. Participants can register online at or at the church. The fee is $20 (pre-race; $25 the day of), the 200-meter dash $10. Contributors can also sponsor students from Emmanuel Center who want to participate. New this year: chip timing and tec T-shirts.

Shelby County Books from Birth is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library; each enrolled child receives a book each month from birth through age five. So far, 61,882 children in Shelby County have graduated from the program, and currently 40, 217 are enrolled.

“This is an exciting year for Books from Birth as we celebrate 10 years of providing books to children in our community,” says Peter Abell, executive director. “In fact, we have mailed over four million brand-new books, many of which were paid for by funds generated through the Book It 5k.

The Reverend Colenzo Hubbard has been director of the Emmanuel Center since its inception in  August 1989, and the program’s focus is threefold: spiritual, academic and character-building through sports. This year, Church of the Holy Communion is supporting the work of an Episcopal Service Corps member at Emmanuel Center (one of four ESC members working at nonprofits in Memphis in a partnership with Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal).

“The staff and participants of the Emmanuel Center are so grateful for our longstanding relationship with the Church of the Holy Communion and the Book It 5K because without that support, our participants’ success would not be possible,” says Father Hubbard. “We have an average total of 900 kids enrolled in our Emmanuel Academy After-School program, Springhill Promise Academy After-School program and Hollywood Promise Academy After-School program. For the ninth consecutive year, the Emmanuel Center had a 100 percent graduation rate for high school participants and 93 percent are currently enrolled in college. In an area where the local graduation rate has at times been as low as 49 percent, this is an awesome accomplishment and we are so proud of our high school seniors.”

Media are invited to attend Saturday’s race. For more information, interviews or photography,

contact Cara Ellen Modisett, Minister of Communication, at


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