Juvenile Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon speaks with Teresa James and Tony James of Collins Chapel CME. Also pictured are members of Judge Sugarmon’s administrative team. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The Tri-State Defender)

by Florence M. Howard —

Members from Collins Chapel CME Church recently delivered their first donation of books for the book nook at Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court.

The book nook is a vending machine that dispenses free books for youngsters being held in Juvenile Court the custody.

Teresa James and other church members donated 250 to 300 “new and slightly used” children’s books on December 13. James said that the mixture of books is appropriate for ages up to 19.

Collins Chapel tries to partner with Juvenile Court because “we’re right in their backyard,” James said. The month-long book drive was held “to do something for the children.”

Tony James and Teresa James of Collins Chapel CME dropped off donated books for young people at Shelby County Juvenile Court. Also pictured: Juvenile Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon and Juvenile Court employees Bryan Branch, event organizer Kweilyn Wiseman, Eric Roberts and Avis Allen.

It was the first drop-off of books.  However, church members plan on making the book drive an annual event because, said James, “the response for donations was overwhelming.”

Currently under the leadership of the Rev. Bethel Harris, Collins Chapel is said to be the “oldest black church of color in the city” and was founded in 1841.

Juvenile Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon greeted the visitors from Collins Chapel.