The images from hurricane Sandy are in and they are heartbreaking. Our Northern brothers and sisters have been hit hard. Homes destroyed. Unimaginable loss. Desperation. It is during these times that we feel helpless asking, "What can I do?"
We empathize with those who have lost everything and those working hard to restore the area. We understand that compensation from insurance companies will come, but may not cover all the damage. That is why many churches and schools are hosting food drives, delivering water, food, batteries and love-filled hugs. The Red Cross is boots-on-the-ground as are our military and regular everyday folk who just want to do something. For those who can give financially, please do so either to the Red Cross, architectureforhumanity.org or Because We Care Ministries, which arrived in New Jersey shortly after Sandy hit. I mention these three charities because I personally know people who work there.
The news has reported that people with less than noble intentions are already taking advantage of folk. C'mon now. Let's work together.
Today I write asking my fellow authors and readers to participate in a book drive. Realizing that times are tight and some people can not write a check; I urge authors to give what they already have . . . copies of their work. Plenty of helpers will rebuild neighborhoods but who will help the libraries? Prior to this storm, libraries had already experienced deep cuts. Doing more than ever with limited resources. That is why I need your help.
If you are an author, please help me send copies of your work to Sandy victims. If you are a reader, please send books in PRISTINE condition. I am one woman on a mission to give books to those in need. This little project is not a quick fix. Yes, I realize that people need homes, but they will also need books. I figure if students can send coats, authors and readers can send books. If we all do what we can then every little bit will help. This book drive is my "little bit."
When I mentioned this idea to local booksellers and my NYT author friends, I quickly realized that southern authors and readers were ready to ship tons of books to our friends up North. I don't want to burden anyone with books they might not need. I am collaborating with George Eberhart, Editor of American Libraries Magazine. In the days to follow, I will contact everyone on the list I am assembling with an address of a library in need. If your are an author, or library staff, my goal is to build a relationship that benefits readers. If you are a book reviewer with stacks of books, you too can contribute. No one is excluded.
Folks along the coast: North Carolina, New Jersey, Long Island, Delaware if Sandy damaged your library and you would like to add books to your permanent collection, please contact me using the address below.
Authors: Please follow the instructions and include all information requested to add your title to the list.
Readers: Please contact me at the email below. I will put you on the list and let you know when the libraries are ready to receive books.
Please email me at: Reneawrites@gmail.com. (Authors: Include the title, ISBN, CIP, Genre, URL link and, of course, contact information.)
From my heart to yours, thank you.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com. She is passionate about literacy. When she isn't writing, she shelves books at the public library.