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From Rockford to Florida, with love: 4,000 books


Meadow Ridge students put stickers in the books they donated to a Florida school

What started as an informal conversation between friends ended up with students from Meadow Ridge Elementary sending some 4,000 books to 850 students at a Florida school. Kathy Munger, a retired reading specialist at Meadow Ridge, coordinated the effort after talking with Susan Bodenner, a friend and Rotary member who had retired to Florida with her husband, Jim.

Having supported literacy projects in Rockford, the Bodenners undertook similar efforts through the Rotary in Summerfield, Florida. Munger offered to help find books for Harbour View Elementary there.

Students load books into a motorhome bound for Summerfield, Florida

Meadow Ridge students brought gently used books from home, writing “b” on their hands to remind them. Teachers and Krause Friends of the Library also donated.

After two weeks Munger had collected 40 boxes of books, loaded them into her sister’s motorhome and drove to Florida with their 91-year-old mother, combining a sight-seeing trip with the pleasure of delivering books to eager students. Their reactions were captured in photos by the Ocala StarBanner.

“I heard precious comments from kids like ‘I can’t believe another school would do this for us,’ and ‘how can we ever thank them’ and ‘I want to read them all,’” Munger said. “It was priceless.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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