Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Season of Giving: Starr Readers

Starr County is one of the poorest counties in the nation. Many families often live in colonias without health care or sewer service. Schools in this area struggle to provide new materials for their students. But the librarians are smiling - thanks to Starr Readers, and the woman behind the organization, Karen Furlong.

Karen is a flight attendant for a private aviation company. But her not-so-secret passion is actually books, and for the past seven years, the Texas native has been collecting and donating books to nine libraries in Rio Grande City public schools. Last year, she bought and delivered around 4,000 books. The number of books she buys is made possible from the generous donations of caring people across the nation. This year, Karen's goal is to purchase 6,000 books and she has teamed up with the publishers Scholastic and First Book, which give her dramatic discounts and allow her to purchase from them directly. This does not include the large number of used books that she receives and which she donates to the libraries themselves. She insists, however, that each child in the school district also receives a new book of their very own to hold, read, and enjoy. 

Some of the titles she intends to deliver this year include We'll Never Forget You, Roberto Clemente and Waiting for the Biblioburro and Balloons Over Broadway. I think this would be a most lovely way to teach your children/students the spirit of giving. As a parent, I think it would be great to take your kids to your favorite bookstore and pick out a few of their favorite titles to share with the children of Starr County. Or you could simply tell your children Karen's story and get online to look at the pictures she has on the Starr Readers website. Once there, you could click on the "Donate" button and give together.

If your family would like to donate to Starr Readers, please try to do so by the end of the year. Afterwards, Karen and her mamá, Evangeline Rodriguez Marino, will make their now traditional drive down to Starr County to deliver their gifts in time for Día de los Reyes. You can donate directly on the Starr Readers website. Remember, as little as $5 can buy one or two books! Or to donate gently used books, please contact Karen through her website for more information.

All donations go directly to buying the books!

Con mucho cariño,


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