In 2013, Books, Brushes & Bands for Education (BBB4E) partnered with First Midwest Bank to bring its dream of Book Brigade: A Call to Action to life.

BBB4E purchased 17 red Radio Flyer wagons, which are then delivered to each Northwest Indiana First Midwest Bank location, where each branch collects new and gently used children’s books for one month. Each branch is competing against one another to collect the most books. The winning branch is then given a commemorative plaque and a pizza party, courtesy of Pizza Hut.

After the month is over, BBB4E staff and volunteers collect the wagons and books, tallying up the total collected. Each year, the number of books collected has surpassed the goal (See Chart).

Once the books are collected, volunteers come to the BBB4E office and sort through each and every one. Books that are deemed too damaged are donated to the Hammond Public Library. Books with religious content are put aside and given to local churches.

After every book has been sorted through and given a BOOK BRIGADE label, books are then loaded into the wagons and then distributed on foot by our volunteers throughout Hammond neighborhoods going door-to-door.

In 2014, a large number of adult books were donated, which led to a separate wagon going out into the neighborhoods to encourage parents to choose a book, or for any adult who may not have a child in the home or know of a child.

Through this project, the student body of Books, Brushes & Bands for Education has developed its own leadership program. They are doing an outstanding job with courtesy while developing leadership, communication, and salesmanship skills, all needed to create successful features.

Volunteers who walk through the neighborhoods of Hammond are called Brigadiers. For more information on how to become a brigadier, please contact us at

How to donate throughout the year:
BBB4E is always accepting books to be donated to the BOOK BRIGADE. Books can be delivered to the BBB4E office in the Merge building – 5920 Hohman Ave, Hammond at any time. Just call the office at 219.932.3232 to make sure someone is available to collect your books, or just leave them outside of the office. Staff is also available for pickup of books.

Annual Goals and Totals

  • Goal
  • Total

2016 – Third Annual

Collection will begin on April 11 and run through May 11 at every First Midwest Bank in Northwest Indiana and now the following Centier branch locations:
– Hammond
– Highland
– Highland Martha
– Munster
– Whiting

Books may also be donated to BBB4E’s office location and class location
Office: 5920 Hohman Ave., Hammond, IN 46320
Class: 6525 Kentucky Ave., Hammond, IN 46323

Staff and volunteers are also available for pick up of books. Please call the office at (219) 932-3232 for more information!

Distribution routes will come shortly. Routes will run from May-September. To stay up-to-date with our most current information regarding Book Brigade, please email us at

What people are saying about BOOK BRIGADE:

The Book Brigade: A Call to Action was such a unique project that was conceived by Michelle, encouraged by the business and community with the logistics entirely handled by the team BBB4E!  When I went walking the neighborhoods with our students and team BBB4E I reveled at the companionship, growth, community and concern that the project brought to life.

– Barb H.

This is an amazing project. It’s one thing to be in an organization that promotes the arts, but to give back is amazing.

– Jennifer

This is a great project. I appreciate it.

– Stephanie

I’m surprised that there [is] still good in the city and there is a project to help kids off the street.

– Kenny

This is a very good program for children, it is truly an encouragement and inspiration for children to read.

– Diane C.

Books Brushes & Bands for Education