Hemacinto – Campaign to Collect 1,000 Books

Hands Around the Hemet Library on Jan. 30 kicked off a month-long book drive by the Assistance League of Hemacinto. More than 30 collection boxes have been placed across the community. (Photo by Diane A. Rhodes, contributing photographer)

Putting a book in the hands of every young child in the San Jacinto Valley who doesn’t have one in their home is the motivation behind the Assistance League of Hemacinto’s month-long book drive.

“It might be they can’t afford books or don’t have anyone that can read to them,” President Linda Morriss said.

The campaign began with a Jan. 30 kick-off event called Hands Around the Hemet Library. Firefighters and police officers joined members of the nonprofit organization and families to hold hands and promote the project. The Hemet High School Jazz Band, directed by Dan Boulton, performed.

Boxes are set up throughout the San Jacinto Valley until March 1 to collect new books suitable for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“CR&R donated 40 (recycling) boxes and we have 10 more coming,” Morriss said. “One of our members is also an art teacher and asked her students to help decorate the boxes.”

Children in Mary Edmundson’s Creative Art 4 Kids classes drew a picture of their favorite book. Those posters were copied and attached to the boxes, along with information about the drive.

Toni Martes, head of the 10-member committee organizing the effort, said everyone took on a role.

“The goal of the committee is to collect 1,000 books, but my goal is much higher,” Martes said. “We’ve gotten such a good response from businesses we approached.”

She knows how important books are to children, even in today’s age of technology.

“I’ll use my grandchildren as an example,” Martes said. “They are 8 and 9 and they use Chromebooks to do most of their schoolwork, but they can’t wait to finish so they can pick up their favorite ‘Dog Man’ book to read. They like to hold these books in their hands.”

Rose Marie Rohrbacher, who has lived in the same Hemet home for 60 years, joined the league more than 10 years ago. She worked 28 years for the Hemet Unified School District and was happy to volunteer on the committee.

“I was a library tech and it was the best job in the district,” she said. “I love kids and I love books.”

Rohrbacher credits her father with instilling in her a great love of books from an early age.

“I never lost the joy (of reading) and sharing that is the most important thing we can do for our children,” she said.

The Assistance League of Hemacinto is a 50-member volunteer organization chartered in 1979. Its mission is “to meet the challenging needs of individuals in the San Jacinto Valley.” It has run Operation School Bell®, which provides new clothes to needy students; the Las Madrinas Teen Parent Program; and offers Mt. San Jacinto College scholarships for adults returning to school.

Information: Toni Martes,TMartes@yahoo.com


  • Abby’s Cafe,43430 CA-74 (Florida Avenue), Hemet
  • Altura Credit Union, 320 S. Sanderson Ave., Hemet
  • Boxing for Christ, 180 Idyllwild Drive, San Jacinto
  • Cameron Books, 2920 E. Florida Ave., No. 108, Hemet (Discount given on purchases for book drive)
  • Curry Copy Center, 1915 E. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro, 100 W. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Downtown Deli & Coffee Company, 113 N. Harvard St., Hemet
  • DVAC/Diamond Valley Arts Center, 123 N. Harvard St., Hemet
  • El Jalapeño Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, 2340 S. San Jacinto Ave., San Jacinto
  • Emilio’s Mexican Restaurant, 199 N. State St., No. 102, Hemet
  • Four Seasons, 237 Four Seasons Blvd., Hemet
  • Hair Fx Salon, 211 N. State St., No. 103, Hemet
  • Golden Era Golf Course, 19871 Gilman Springs Road, San Jacinto
  • Golden Village Palms RV Resort, 3600 W. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Hemet City Hall, 445 E. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Hemet Public Library, 300 Latham Ave., Hemet
  • Hemet/San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce, 615 N. San Jacinto St., Hemet
  • La Fogata Mexican Restaurant, 2940 W. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Panorama Village, 1401 Teakwood Place, Hemet
  • RK Salon & Spa, 117 N. Harvard St., Hemet
  • San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce, 2323 S. San Jacinto Ave., San Jacinto
  • San Jacinto City Hall, 595 S. San Jacinto Ave., San Jacinto
  • Seven Hills Clubhouse, 3050 Jacaranda Way, Hemet
  • Shear Concepts, 250 S. Lyon Ave., A, Hemet
  • Sierra Dawn Estates Office, 950 S. Lyon Ave., Hemet
  • Simpson Center, 305 E. Devonshire Ave., Hemet
  • Starbucks Palm & Florida, 889 W. Florida Ave., Hemet
  • Starbucks State & Stetson, 150 W. Stetson Ave., Hemet
  • Starbucks, 2281 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite A, San Jacinto
  • Sylvan Learning Center, 1505 W. Florida Ave., Suite A, Hemet
  • The Village Retirement Community, 2200 W. Acacia Ave., Hemet