By Lauren Hollon Sturdy
LONGVIEW, Texas—Buckner Westminster Place residents held a book drive in support of Moore Books for Moore Kids, an effort to help schools destroyed in Moore, Okla., after a tornado hit the area May 20.
The Longview community was quick to support the drive, which collected more than 2,000 books for teachers at Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools. Westminster Place residents and retired schoolteachers Mary Francis Farris and James Anderson helped head up the effort.
“In a little place like Longview, word gets around fast,” Farris said. “A lot of times people want to get rid of books but they like to give them to a needy cause and this was just exactly what they wanted. We were also fortunate to get some of the merchants here in the mall and close by to help us.”
A local Albertsons sold Westminster Place a large box of books worth $5 to $8 each for 99 cents apiece. Wes Wells, executive director at Westminster Place, used the books to create a makeshift bookstore at the retirement campus.
“Residents could come and go through our ‘bookstore’ and donate a dollar and still have a book to bring to the collection, because not everybody still drives,” Wells said. “Barron’s also helped promote the drive by serving as a book drop point.”
Wells and Blake Lambert, marketing and sales director at Westminster Place, drove 10 hours and more than 600 miles roundtrip in a loaded pickup truck to personally deliver the books to Moore on July 1.
“I think for a cause, this is an ideal cause,” Anderson said. “The need is great. Other than going there and engaging – teaching the kids yourself – this is the next best thing we can do. These are tools of the trade. You have to have books.”
Westminster Place also collected $800 to donate to Moore Books for Moore Kids for the purchase of gifts cards that allow teachers to work on restocking their other classroom supplies.
Moore Books for Moore Kids collected more than 40,000 books to restock Briarwood Elementary and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools’ libraries and classrooms in the months following the tornado.