My Thoughts on Being Thankful…and Sending Books to NJ

I was recovering from surgery when Hurricane Katrina hit the south on August 29, 2005; physically unable to do anything but weep as men like Hardy Jackson from Biloxi, MS suffered devastating losses. You may not remember his name, but I know you remember his face. For those who have wondered what happened to Mr. Jackson, he has stage IV cancer. View his story here.

I remember my heart breaking, my resolve building that I would do something should another tragedy hit. However, when Superstorm Sandy came to shore on the Northeastern Coast I found myself unable to contribute. The Red Cross won’t accept my blood (I’m too short, and a cancer survivor); and, like many American families, struggling financially. Then a thought entered my heart, you can coordinate a book drive.  The one thing I have plenty of is books, not just the one I’ve written, but stacks of books from bestselling authors. For those who haven’t read the original post about the drive, you can find it here.

Since the original post complete strangers have come together. Authors, readers, book reviewers and complete strangers have sent books to libraries that were severely damaged. I was also shocked at the naysayers who said that the books wouldn’t be wanted. I had spoken directly to the COO of the library who was moved to tears that someone…anyone was thinking of them. I understand that insurance will cover some of the costs. However it is the end of the fiscal year and the particular library chosen was already operating on an anorexic budget. They needed books…now.

I should also mention that I have withheld the address from my blog to protect the library from unscrupulous people who have their own best interest at heart. Already someone offered free books but the fine print read that they expected the library to pay shipping. And, I was discouraged when the United Parcel Service who, when I contacted them via FB, would not issue a call slip for the book reviewer who had several boxes of books she was willing to donate. Still, we pressed on and books arrive at the library every day

In the posts that follow I will include images from those who sent me pictures of books. I know I will overlook or forget someone and I apologize in advance. If you didn’t receive the mailing address of the library, kindly send another email to me and I will  send you the address. Your books bring smiles. They bring hope, and for that I am very thankful.

Below are some of the authors and readers who have contributed with more images to follow later.

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Renea Winchester is an award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Friend Bologna Sandwiches will be released soon. Learn more about her at