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Booking it

Residents of a Texas retirement community contribute to a book drive for Moore schoolchildren.

Molly Evans July 10th, 2013

Residents of a senior living community in East Texas were deeply touched by news reports of the May 20 tornado that devastated Moore.

The seniors — some of them retired teachers, grandparents and great-grandparents — were especially concerned about the students of Plaza Towers and Briarwood, the two elementary schools demolished by that EF5 twister.

So the 175 residents of Buckner Westminster Place in Longview, Texas, did something about it. On July 1, two administrators from the facility donated nearly 2,000 books and $800 to help restore the two schools.

“The [retirees] were very interested to do something,” said Wes Wells, director of Buckner Westminster Place, who personally delivered the books to Eastlake Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a donation site in Moore. “A lot of [the residents], I guess, feel a little isolated and didn’t know how to reach out.”

Buckner Westminster Place found an outlet to help through a Facebook page, Moore Books for Moore Kids, that Dedra Meier had created three days after the storm.

“Books are a simple way to give back, and they last,” said Meier, noting that the campaign has raised more than $4,000 and 40,000 books since May 23.

A former schoolteacher, Meier started the organization with two friends to help the teachers of Moore financially.

The organization’s call for books has reached 25 states and as far away as Ireland, Meier said

There have been plenty of contributions from closer to home, too. The morning of the Buckner Westminster delivery, three girls from Oakridge Elementary, located a mile south of Briarwood, showed up to donate the $705 and 2,000 books they have collected from their lemonade stands.

Makayla Ford and sisters Daren and Brynn McMillan have friends at the affected elementary schools. The trio wanted to help out in safe conditions, which ruled out lifting debris and going onsite.

“We have a long line of teachers in the family, and we know how much money they spend on their own classrooms,” said the McMillans’ mother, Kasey McMillan, Books will be sorted Saturday for teachers to select for their classrooms. Meier said she hopes each teacher will receive 500 books and $50 to buy classroom supplies.

Although the book drive ended last week, monetary donations will be accepted through Friday at the church, 700 S.W. 134th, or online at gofundme.com/MooreBooksforMooreKids.

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