It was almost a month ago that I posted my plea for help. We had 2 months left to collect 6,000 more books for our May distributions. I’m happy to report we’ve collected about 2,000 books so far, and there are at least 1,000 more en route from BookMoochers. We also have several book drives underway. We’re almost there!

And let’s face it: 18,000 books is an estimate of what’s needed. If your child is going to find 12 books he/she wants to read, how many books will he/she reject in the process? We know we need MORE than 12 books per child if we want every child to find 12 books that appeal, but we don’t really know how many more. Maybe 16,000 will do it, or maybe it will take 20,000. What I do know: we will Make It Work.

So where are all these books coming from?

They’re coming from generous people all over the US and Canada – sometimes even the world – who are willing to mail their books to Athens. They’re coming from frazzled parents who take the time to clean off their bookshelves and deliver boxes of books to our drop-off locations. And a small percentage are coming from eBay, thrift stores, yard sales, you name it.

Yes, we are in full-on book-seeking mode here at Books for Keeps. I guarantee you it’s all I think about! Coordinating book drives… collecting books… sorting books… boxing books… wow.

In the minutes in between, I’ve been meeting with the three elementary schools we’ve chosen for distributions. I’m meeting with educators who know first-hand what sort of need is out there in the student population… people who will be tasked with remedying the effects of summer slide if we can’t stop it. Maybe the best word to describe what I see is HOPE.

I’ve also been pulling together a Board of Directors, puzzling through the IRS 501(c)(3) application process, recruiting financial donors, writing my first grant application… possibly working harder than I ever have in my life.

It’s worth it. Soooo worth it.