The 12th annual Stand Together Week has now completed in Portland, marking a week of volunteering opportunities for the Portland Thorns and Timbers alongside their community partners. On Friday, some Thorns FC players went to the Portland Children’s Book Bank to help the nonprofit sort, clean, and distribute community-donated books to families in need.
Beautiful Game Network sat down with a few of the players as they were hard at work cleaning books.
“[Reading] was something that I got into again like a year and a half ago,” said Thorns midfielder Taylor Porter, a player who also volunteered at the Children’s Book Bank during last year’s Stand Together Week. “It was my form of escape and self-care and it’s become my go-to instead of watching TV or always having such a stimulant like that. It’s something that I really love—living so many lives through books.”
Midfielder Olivia Moultrie shared much of the same sentiment, “for me it’s something that is entertaining, but also it’s something that is relaxing at the same time.” It allows Moultrie to disconnect and find something that’s not looking at a screen, but also “something that I can do while resting and recovering before going back into the rigorous activity that is professional soccer every day.”
Not all of the players read as thoroughly as Porter, who finished over 100 books last year, is aiming for 150 books this year and currently on track at 115. Defender Reyna Reyes weighed in, commenting that she likes reading, “not as much as Taylor [Porter], but yes…I do like to read at night before I go to bed, just maybe like 10, 15 pages.”
The book bank provides children up to kindergarten with home libraries containing a collection of 14 books, the reason behind 14 being to give children a better chance of receiving a book that will spark a love of reading. For the more advanced books donated, those books are provided to elementary and K-8 underserved schools to host free school-wide book fairs each June in order to combat the “summer slide”, when children can lose gains made over the school year.
Quite a few Thorns have spoken about their love…