Tamina nonprofit Children’s Books on Wheels focuses on community literacy

Rita Wiltz said the CBOW hall of fame includes influential members and families that have helped. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rita Wiltz said the CBOW hall of fame includes influential members and families that have helped. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Rita Wiltz said the CBOW hall of fame includes influential members and families that have helped. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Children's Books on Wheels has served Tamina and The Woodlands area for 16 years. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Among the volunteer opportunities at CBOW is the community garden, which includes herbs, fruits and flowers. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Since its founding in 2004, Tamina-based nonprofit Children’s Books on Wheels has continued its original mission: to serve Montgomery County residents through education and training.

Founding member Rita Wiltz said the organization does more than provide books and it offers its services throughout the area—hence the “wheels” in its name.

“One of the top five concerns in Montgomery County is the access to public service,” Ritz said. “We reach out through our volunteers and our partners to make sure they have access to whatever they need.”

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, CBOW has offered a variety of services, such as free coronavirus testing, Occupational Safety and Health Administration training and setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot at its headquarters in the Sleepy Hollow Multipurpose Building in Tamina so area students would have a place to do online assignments.

“We have seen ... that children do not have access to free books,” Wiltz said. “We wanted to make sure they have [them], and that is beyond Tamina. We have provided services to New Caney, Splendora, Magnolia ... [and to places] that are low-income communities.”

Among the partnerships CBOW has formed over the years is one with the Montgomery County Food Bank, where they have helped distribute over 7,000 meals throughout the course of this past summer.

CBOW has also received recognition, including being named a nonprofit of choice by Barnes & Noble for two consecutive years.

Teachable moments

To promote community literacy, Wiltz said CBOW’s services expand into teaching life skills, such as having student volunteers work in the onsite community garden to teach them how to grow produce.

Literacy also extends to adults in the area in need of help through tax services, health literacy, and Medicare and food stamp assistance navigation.Wiltz added she has been inspired by her beliefs, which center on helping others.

“We do what we do with love and open arms,” Wiltz said. “I love it. My plate is full, but at CBOW, we are busy.”CBOW is seeking volunteers and monetary donations to provide its free programs, and Ritz said volunteer applicants will have to pass a background check.

“We are diverse in our services, and we do it all with a smile on our face,” Wiltz said.
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


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