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How To Help Provide Relief -- One Book at a Time

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Andres Harambour / iStockphoto

When hurricanes, fires, and natural disasters strike, there is something you can do to help--while you also share your love of reading with others. Why not share a books with a friend in need, donate books to a shelter, or send books to a relief organization. There are lots of great ways to pass books around. Bring pleasure into the lives of those who may have lost everything, who need a bit of comfort.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. People in relief shelters need food and clothing, but they also need to feed the mind! Books are an important donation for any relief effort. With so much already on their minds, books can offer a welcome diversion, an escape--if only for a few hours--from the reality of what has happened! Contact your local shelter, and find out how you can donate books. They may also be able to tell you what local efforts are underway to contribute to a natural disaster, or other event.
     
  2. Purchase or pack up the books that you plan to donate. You may want to consider including individual books as part of a care packages--with other needed supplies. One great idea is to put the supplies in a backpack, so the recipient has an easier time with transporting them. Another great idea is to write a personal note of encouragement to include with the package.
     
  3. Start passing the word! Your friends and family members will likely have books they'd like to donate as well! Remember, even if they don't have books to donate, they may be happy to donate a few dollars, which could be combined with the donations of others to provide more books for families in need.
     
  4. In addition to your local shelter, you may want to consider sending books to shelters (and other organizations) in other areas, especially those that are currently inundated with needy individuals and families, who have experienced tragedy. With each new hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster, there are often many who would love to just hold onto one book.
     
  5. Keep donating! Don't stop donating after the major relief effort has passed. Programs like Access Books operate all year round, and they are in constant need of more donations of books. Remember that books change lives!
     

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