Book drive preparation and myriad other responsibilities have kept me from sharing all the good things happening here over the past few weeks. I'm allowing myself a break to get you caught up. But I must confess, I'm doing it for selfish reasons. I've been so slammed, so overwhelmed, that I just want to take a few minutes and focus on the blessings instead. I need a boost, and this will do it!
But where do I start?
How about the folks who've volunteered to monitor drop-off bins for an entire month? Jamie, Michelle, Natasha, Sayge, Johanna, Linh, Lauren, Molly, Melissa, Leigh, and Shayne: THANK YOU. There's no way I could do it by myself.
Like my last Shout Out post, there's a category for Emergency Rescue. My rescuer? Emily, from the Oconee campus of Gainesville State College. The clock was ticking down and I had no signs for the drop off bins. She not only finished the sign design, she got the school to donate the signs themselves: 18x24 poster-sized signs that a friend had priced at $22 each if I printed them. They are gorgeous, and catastrophe was avoided. Thank you Emily and Gainesville State!
Sandy from Ventura California continues to send in box after box of popular, pristine books that I'm holding in reserve for a set of the neediest kids. Sandy, I really don't know what Books for Keeps would do without you. Thank you.
BookMoochers continue to donate points (although my angel moochers have been so effective that we've used most of them!) Thank you Gabrielle in Massachusets, Chen in Israel, Debbi in Alabama, Ethel in Connecticut, Jessica in Italy, Dawn and Asusu in New York, Kim in Pennsylvania, Sandy in California, Hedremp, Donna and Michelle in Canada, Kami in Minnesota, Kay in South Carolina, and Eric in Florida. Wow. And THANK YOU.
And how about Books for Keeps earliest supporters, frequently mentioned in the pages of this blog? Jan in Davis, CA continues to send BookCrossing books, and I'm tickled when she sticks in an extra book for me. Shipments showed up from Carrie in New Ulm, MN and Nancy in Staten Island, NY, too. I love, love, love when I'm surprised by these awesome women. And I know I'm forgetting somebody... Heather? Michelle? Alexa? I could go on... but you know who you are, and you know I appreciate you, even if my records are a little, ummmm, wrong.
Rachel from Atlanta sent over 3 more boxes of books from her "cubicle drive". One email to co-workers, one cubicle, hundreds of books. Wow. Thank you Rachel! And her sister-in-law Leigh (perhaps more accurately described as one of my oldest college friends) parted with her precious Harry Potter paperbacks. Thanks Leigh!
Speaking of Leigh - she's also donated storage bins, she's monitoring a high-volume drop-off location, and she's providing the food for the book drive kick-off party. As a bonus, she provides "Step Away from the Ledge" encouragement during the more overwhelming Books for Keeps moments. Thanks Leigh!
My Phi Mu college friends came to Athens for a girls' weekend, so of course we turned it into a book drive. A really fun book drive... Thank you Kelley, Millie, Nechelle, Michelle, Stacy and Megan! 9 boxes of books!
Courtney from Buford has been telling people about Books for Keeps, snapping up books, and we meet like spies at the Golden Pantry parking lot for the exchange. There aren't enough books in Athens to supply what we need; thank you Courtney for helping bring in books from surrounding areas!
Aunt Linda shipped a huge box of adult books from Tullahoma TN; I'll use them to barter for kids books. Thank you Aunt Linda - it was a nice surprise!
Books for Keeps also received a shipment of books from Chen in Israel. Yes, Israel! Thank you Chen, that's quiet an effort and I really appreciate it.
Whitney, right here in Athens, donated a box of books... she's been helping me by introducing me to people who might be able to help, and now her kids' books are in our inventory too. Thank you Whitney!
Cousin Smash's mother-in-law Peggy, in Richmond VA, didn't have any modern childrens books on hand so she ordered a shipment from Amazon! I feel like I'm saying "wow" too much, but... Wow! Thank you Peggy!
Samantha in Houston hit the jackpot on Captain Underpants books at a half-price book store. She snapped them up and mailed them in. And what a great example of seeing an opportunity to help and just jumping on it.
Well. This might be the longest blog post I've ever written. I hope that reading through this (if you made it to the end!) you see the trend: Books for Keeps may have started with one woman saying "I can do something", but it's become a network of individuals, all saying "I can do something". Those small acts of generosity add up: 4,000 books in inventory!
Thank you everybody, and as always, I'm sorry and horrified at the thought that I've forgotten someone. Forgive me, and keep sending books!