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December 2, 2009

More Book Groups Give Back

Posted by webmaster
Yesterday Marsha Toy Engstrom told us about the many ways the members of her northern California book club, Readers in the Hood, lend a helping hand in their community. Today several other reading group members share their stories on giving back.

Three years ago my book club of 11 women started contributing to charity. At our monthly meetings we each give $10 to the person hosting the meeting, and she contributes the amount collected to a charity of her choice. Often the money goes to a charity that is related in some way to the book we read for that month. For example, when we read Still Alice by Lisa Genova, the money went to our local Alzheimer's organization. After reading Escape by Carolyn Jessop, we donated to another local charity, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.

---Cathy Friedberg, Middleton, WI

Each month our group, The Read & Dialogue Book Group, collects funds for the Central Asia Institute. This began a year ago when we read Three Cups of Tea by the organization’s founder, Greg Mortenson. We also donate items for the Cherished Child preschool of our church. The preschool director lets us know what they are in need of each month, I send out a list, and the members bring the items to the meeting. These range from diapers, wipes and latex gloves to craft supplies, toys and books.

---Ann Zeigler, San Antonio, TX

Our book club, The Bookers, has a variety of projects. The three below are annual projects.

1. We collect new children's books at our December meeting. All are asked to wrap the gift and then place a post-it note saying gender and age range. These books are given to three area charities. They are distributed to mothers or fathers so they may present their child with a book.
2. We collect funds for Help Hospitalized Veterans. This charity distributes craft kits to soldiers recovering in hospitals.
3. We collect items for the Jackson Field Home for Girls in Jarratt, VA: once a year used clothing drive; once a year new underwear drive; and books at each monthly meeting.

In May 2009 we found that we had extra funds. We gave $50 to each of the five local public libraries for a reference book of their choice. We also gave $150 in magazine subscriptions to the Jackson Field Home for Girls.

---Carol Weigel, Henrico, NC

We have the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Centre connected to the hospital where I work. The Centre sees about 400 people/year who are victims of family violence. Each person is given a copy of Lundy Bancroft's book Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. The women find this book extremely helpful in dealing with the issue, and the books have been available free of charge as the Centre had received a gift of 50 copies. Our book club read it, and the director of the Centre facilitated a meeting. We had a number of non-members (who are always welcomed) join us for the discussion, including an emergency department nurse and a staff member who had left an abusive relationship. We all donated our copies of the book to the Centre. We then put out a challenge to the hospital staff to purchase the book and donate it back. On November 4th, we Skyped Lundy into the auditorium of our public library, and 75 people both men and women attended.

300 copies of the book have been purchased, and we hope many of them will be donated back to us. Our Centre has challenged the other 34 hospital connected centres in the province to do the same.

---Elaine Baldwin, Librarian, St. Mary’s General Hospital, Kitchener, Ontario