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Teen coordinates 4H book drive
by DJ Kauffman Correspondent · February 1st, 2018

As darkness settled over Marion on January 26, the Sadler Power Train trucking company got to work loading a company truck with thousands of boxed books taken from the home of Marion teen Selena Killham where they had been stored.

Selena began collecting the volumes last fall as part of her 2017, Prairie Union Wildcats 4-H club, Hurricane Harvey and Irma book-drive project. And, thanks to Sadler's willingness to help, 78 boxes of the donated books will soon be in Texas readers' hands. Selena, with the help of her mother Sheila Killham, will send one box of books to Florida later this week.

 According to Sheila, 4,139 books were collected in all during the book drive that began in mid- to late September and ended on December 31, 2017. They first posted the request for books on various Facebook sale sites and sent emails to Girl Scouts. Selena was also interviewed by KCRG and the Marion Times, and received assistance from The Linn County Extension office in requesting help from 4-H clubs, she said.

Then, much like hurricane waters, thousands of books quickly filled the family's basement as donations came pouring in. Besides her home, other book-drop locations included The Linn County Extension Office and the Marion Public Library. Sadler also picked up the additional books for shipping.

Sheila sent us the following distribution details:


1. Henderson Middle School in Sour Lake is scheduled to receive 567 books (17 boxes). "They lost over 9,000 books and the school currently is in portable classrooms across the street from the damaged school."

2. True Cross Catholic School in Dickinson is scheduled to receive 1,494 books plus supplies (21 boxes). "This school lost over 10,000 books."

3. William R. "Bill" Ellis Memorial Public Library in Port Arkansas is scheduled to receive 1,997 books (40 boxes). "This library lost over 15,000 books." The town does not have an open library at this time.


The Academy of the Arts in Palmetto Bay is scheduled to receive 81 books, with 73 requested ones by Dr. Henry E. Perrine. "They lost that entire collection due to mold. From the list that they had given to us, three books were not in print any longer and we couldn't get them." To help fund Academy books, Selena and Sheila baked Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies and sold them for $25 per dozen.

"We also received some books from authors and publishing companies, and some people gave us additional tips from the cookie orders that we received. We had one business that did their own book drive for us and gave us the books a couple of weeks before Christmas."

Further donations included bookmarks from authors and area residents, monetary gifts for the purchase of discount books, as well as donated "backpacks, art and craft supplies, glue, pencils, pens, school supplies, paper and a few other things for the school to be able to use," Sheila said. And, any DVD or VHS tape donation was later traded for books at the Half-Priced Books, she added.

Finally, Selena and Sheila both want to thank everyone in the community who came together and helped with the book drive. They said now that the book drive is completed, they will send the donated stuffed animals to Ohio. Selena had collected them for another 4H project concerning the Operation Underground Railroad.

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