This year when the Unite for Africa Club at Darien High in Connecticut started to plan a new fundraiser, their leader Colette Quinn decided they would run a book drive. She thought they might be able to gather enough books to fit into a few boxes and combine them with another local Africa non-profit organization. But what happened next was more inspiring than expected.
The Unite for Africa Club Saw a Need and Took Action
In previous years, the Darien High club raised money to install solar panels on orphanages or sanitizing stations for towns in Tanzania. This year they heard about the need for books to help kids throughout Africa obtain a better education. The idea was to raise some cash so that the Unite for Africa Foundation could purchase a few books. The club members led by Colette Quinn set to work spreading the news. Soon they got a message from a school administrator that changed the whole game.
Books were Found in Storerooms and Closets at School
IUnwanted textbooks were stacked by the dozens in forgotten closets in the school. The foundation that operates the school club did not have the ability to ship so many books to Africa. Colette and her team reached out to other non-profits that support children in African and connected with the Books for Africa program in Georgia. If the books could get to their warehouse, BFA would see that they were delivered to schools across Africa.
The School came Together to Load the Books into a Truck
As the word went out across the community, more books started to pour into the Darien High club headquarters. Before they knew what happened, over 3550 books were straining the storage closet. How could they get all these books from Connecticut down to Georgia? Colette made more phone calls. She contacted Frank Futie of Rented Truck Driver who worked with his connection at the local Penske Truck Rental. The two companies donated their resources to deliver the books for the charity.
IWhen the time came to load the truck, more students arrived to help organize, box, and load the books. It took all weekend, but the monumental task was finally completed. How did they pay for the gas for the truck? Vavala’s Deli, a local business, ran bake sales to raise funds to defray the shipping costs.
Helping Kids Far Away Truly Brought the Community Together
IWhen Colette and the Darien High United for Africa Club look back on this amazing charity drive, they will remember how the entire community banded together to make the impossible happen. There weren’t supposed to be thousands of books. There weren’t supposed to be textbooks that schools could use. It wasn’t supposed to take a whole weekend, a truck, and a 30-hour round trip to deliver the books to the Books for Africa foundation. But it did. And it was awesome.
Making Plans for Next Year’s Drive
Now that Colette and her crew know that collecting over 3500 books is possible, they are looking forward to breaking their own record next year. Their leader hopes to reach out to other schools, libraries, and even towns to make next year’s shipment even larger. With many club members in their freshman year, she hopes to develop leadership able to maintain the momentum for years to come. Best of all, underserved children across the ocean will have a brighter future thanks to Colette and her dedication.