By Charlene Santala Gearing, public relations chair, Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset, Hawaii, USA
Are you familiar with the word serendipity? That certainly seems like what has happened for the Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset, Hawaii.
We started the project to support libraries in the Philippines, but it has turned into a mission of hope and recovery for schools impacted by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Our efforts coincided with Hawaii public schools replacing textbooks as they adapted to a changed curriculum.
To capitalize on this opportunity, what needed to happen was staggering. Thousands of books had to be picked up from dozens of schools across Oahu, stored in a warehouse, and then sorted and boxed for shipment to schools in the Philippines. The challenges were many: our club is small with only about fifteen members. We needed donated storage space, boxes, and a fork lift. And we needed dozens of volunteers.
Against all odds, our club made it happen, with the help of other Rotary clubs, local business partners and student volunteers! From the library project involving approximately 7,000 books, this project grew to include the collection, processing, and preparation for shipping of more than 45,000 books last year.
Our work is not done, we have just begun to support the recovery of schools in the Philippines. Book collections will continue; shipments will continue; and fundraising must continue! For more information about “Books 4 Kids,” go to our website.
Watch a news report on our project