In the middle of the warm summer months in the desert, Assistance League Palm Springs Desert Area received a call from the Molina Foundation asking a surprising question. Would we be interested in receiving thousands of books from the Foundation? The Foundation was emptying a warehouse and looking for ways to give away the contents. The books, in English and Spanish, were described as appropriate for elementary school grade level children covering a huge range of topics. The Molina Foundation only required that we pay for the shipping and that we give the books directly to children to use and take home.
We immediately agreed to take all the books they could give us. It turned out to be 16,609 books!
Our first challenge was to find a place to store these books, and we did. The husband of one of our members owns a warehouse and offered not only space but was willing to move the books around via his forklift and in addition generously paid for the shipping. The photo below is just a sample of what we received.
Our members unpacked, inventoried, labeled and separated by age and interest all of the books. Many hours were spent in a warehouse that had limited air conditioning.
As we worked, we began to strategize how to best use this great gift. We made a plan that included placing books in each Operation School Bell® clothing bag. Each mother-to-be at our Military baby shower received a book. Every backpack distributed to enrolling kindergarteners contained a book.
And then there was Assistance League ACTION! Week: Read Across America. The list of agencies in the Coachella Valley that received hundreds of books is too long to list here, but a sample is: Coachella Housing Authority, Galilee Mecca Migrant Center, Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Indio.
The photo below shows the grateful response from one of the groups that received books.