The Literacy Council of Central Alabama is working hard to get back to business after a fire resulted in extensive damage to their First Avenue North office May 22. The office served as the location of the Literacy Council’s tutoring services, which strive to teach functionally illiterate adults in Central Alabama how to read.
Though the front of the office appears undamaged at first glance, a large area at the back of the office, which was used as space for tutoring, was damaged by smoke and water from the firefighters’ hoses as they worked to contain the blaze on the building’s roof. Some of the Literacy Council’s office equipment was destroyed, along with hundreds of books, but fortunately no one was harmed.
“The main loss was our tutoring books, the books that we use to teach adults to read,” says Missy Burchart, communications and development manager for the Literacy Council. “But the main thing is that no one was hurt. Books can be replaced, equipment can be replaced, and we’re just really lucky that no one was there during the fire.”
The Literacy Council needs a new space to resume lessons. Burchart says that they have received multiple offers for temporary offices, and are currently assessing which will best serve their needs and the needs of their tutors and learners.
“That’s our main priority, getting them together, making sure that they’re able to start learning again,” says Burchart. “It takes time, but we’re working really hard to get that space secure. And something that’s convenient for them, because the beauty of where we were is that we were close to the bus line, and a lot of our learners use the bus to get to us, so we want to make sure that the space that we use is convenient, somewhere close to where we are now.”
Once that space has been found, the Literacy Council will be in need of donations of gently used books to replace some of the hundreds that were lost. Meanwhile, monetary donations can be made through the Literacy Council’s website.
“Every penny counted before the fire,” says Burchart, “and every penny really counts now, after the fire.”
Down but not out, the Literacy Council expects to resume tutor orientation on June 5 at the Hoover Public Library. Further updates will be posted on their website, as well as on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.