Generations of charity converged Monday at Eastlake Church as thousands of book donations came in from retirees and elementary school students alike.
A five-ho ur drive brought more than 1,500 books and $800 to Oklahoma City from senior living community Buckner Westminster Place in Longview, Texas. Meanwhile, a lemonade stand within the city brought in 2,000 books and $705 for Moore Books for Moore Kids to the same church on the same day.
At the end of the 10-day book drive at Westminster Place, books were stacked high on tables in the living center's common area.
“The thing about east Texas is we have a lot of tornadoes as well, so a lot of the people have been there and have felt the devastation,” center spokesman Blake Lambert said. “When you've been there before and people have helped you, you're going to give back.”
It wasn't until center leadership found Moore Books online that the helping began.
Many of the retirees are former educators or librarians and most of them have kids, grandkids or great grandchildren, center director Wes Wells said.
“I think they just really felt like they wanted to do something to impact children's lives,” Wells said.
So the 175 residents — with an average age of about 88-years-old — spread word of the book drive to their families while center staff gathered donations from local bookstores.
Some of the staff went to a local grocery store and bought every kid's book there for $1 apiece. They put the books on a table in the common room so residents could come pick out and purchase books
“We brought the bookstore to them,” Wells said. “So those who couldn't go shopping could still go shopping in their home.”
When Lambert and Wells made it to Eastlake they were met by members of the church, the creator of Moore Books Dedra Meier, and three elementary school girls donating books brought to their lemonade stand.
Everyone pitched in to unload boxes and bags of books from the white pickup parked out front. When the truck was unloaded, they moved on to unload Meier's van and Daren and Brynn McMillan's mother's car.
“It was cool to show up and at the same time, unload books with kids,” Wells said. “It's neat to see everyone from all walks of life pitching in.”
Moore Books has received more than 40,000 books from 25 different states and Ireland since they started taking donation May 23. It will accept contributions until Friday. After that, book sorting begins, Meier said.
Once the books are sorted, Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary teachers will pick out books for their future classrooms on July 13.
“It's just something that anyone can really do,” Meier said. “Books are a simple way to give back and they last.”