Donated books head south

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Over the past few months, the Freehold Township elementary and middle schools gathered text books no longer in use to donate to Louisiana schools still in need since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

To add to the donation, the West Freehold School held a “Books for the Bayou” drive to provide children’s books to school libraries and families affected by the hurricane. Through the generosity of West Freehold School families, more than 3,600 children’s books were gathered.

“Although a year has passed since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, its impact lingers on,” said Cathy Areman, a third-grade teacher at the West Freehold School.

According to Areman, the staff at West Freehold saw a wonderful opportunity to add to the district’s textbook donations by reaching out to school families.

“While the children of Louisiana may not be able to physically leave the devastated areas around them, we can help them to escape, if only for a short time, through the power of a great book,” she said. “As we packed the books to send out, all we could think about was how much the students and teachers of New Orleans would appreciate the beautiful books that were donated.”

The United Parcel Service, Edison Feeder Department, provided free shipment of the books to New Orleans.

Robin Keller, co-president of the Applegate School PTO, coordinated the pickup at the West Freehold School, where the textbooks and children’s books were held. The UPS trailer was scheduled to be loaded and the books shipped out before Thanksgiving.

According to a press release from the school district, the “Books for the Bayou” campaign was one of many community service projects the Freehold Township schools conduct throughout the year. All of the schools are involved with the local Project Eat organization and many have recently been recognized for 10 years of service. The schools also continue to organize drives for personal care items and write letters to American soldiers in Iraq.