The fall of 2010 was not without its surprises and curve balls. In addition to moving out of the pre-launch office (planned), my parents were both hospitalized in September (unplanned) back-to-back in fact. It was draining, emotionally and physically, as hospitalizations of loved ones most often are. It also served as a very concrete reminder that, for now, my time is most appropriately spent in the care of my family.
As much as I would love to run monthly DeClutter For Good drives, as I did in the spring of 2010 or throughout much of 2009, I made the difficult (yet at the same time obvious) decision to cut back on the drives. Falling back on an old favorite, the fall drive was a book drive, with a favorite main recipient organization, I’m happy to say.
Nearly everyone has TOO MANY books! What’s more, we kind of hate to part with them ~ even those books, the vast majority I would hazard a guess, that we never read a second time. “DeCluttering For Good” and contributing to a collective effort to help a worthy organization, people in need, is just that extra incentive we need to get some of our extra books out from under. Keeping books out of the waste stream when we purge through our books, well, that’s a no-brainer!
Through the contributions of many people, most notably a generous donation from the Hamilton-Wenham library after their used book sale, donations at Ipswich High School’s Fall Curriculum Night and Ipswich Recycling Committee’s fall recycle day, I was able to donate 1,000+ books to More Than Words, one of my favorite non-profit/social enterprise hybrids anywhere! Click here to read a post I wrote in the fall of 2008 after my first visit to MTW. I’ve done many drives for them and never tire of delivering the books to their bookstore/coffee shop in Waltham, MA. More Than Words employs at-risk teens, giving them the business skills and life skills to turn their young lives in a positive direction, while changing community attitudes about these young people who have been through tough times. Books are simply the “thing” they sell, the vehicle for their life-altering efforts. Our disadvantaged youth deserve a second chance, if anyone does, and MTW gives it to them.
In addition to More Than Words, I donated a boxful of parenting books to Lynn Community Health Center for them to share with the young parents to whom they provide services. Certainly, young parents find themselves in a situation where they need to suddenly learn a great deal about raising children, something challenging at any age. I still need to send a thank-you to the kind person who made the delivery for me from the local Beverly NorthShore Cafe (a yahoo group born out of that town’s freecycle group).
Finally,as the fall was drawing to a close, I delivered the last of the books from the fall DeClutter For Good drive. I had set aside 4 or 5 boxes of young children’s books, early readers, beginner chapter books and children’s non-fiction. Just in time for Christmas, I made the short drive to Ipswich Cornerstones, an alternative school for very young children who, in many instances, live at the school because home is not a safe place to be. That I am able to deliver an occasional box of books (or in the past bedding, games, sports equipment) is bittersweet. It’s such a small act really, but makes a difference in their already challenging young lives. Shining a light on the problems that lead to their being at a place like Cornerstones is a long-range dream. For now, the books will have to suffice, and the knowledge that I’m helping to make people aware of the needs that exist and the simple ways we can help if we collectively DeClutter For Good and donate to organizations helping those in need.
To all of those who donated books, thank you. Each of these organizations welcomes donations. Visit their websites or feel free to get in touch with me via a comment reply. In particular, More Than Words is a wonderful recipient organization for book drives on Boston’s North Shore and the Greater Boston area.