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721shipping books?

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  • Sargent, Nathan
    Dec 4, 2008
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      Here's an article about Leslie Rucker, a teacher in Merced who held a
      book drive for her daughter, who is serving in Namibia. The book drive
      was so successful, the family is now wondering how to ship 2,000 books
      to Africa. If any RPCVs have experience shipping books, I'm sure Leslie
      would appreciate knowing about organizations that help. They are
      currently bagging the books up to ship via USPS M-bags. You can email
      Leslie at lrucker@...

      MERCED SUN-STAR Dec. 3, 2008

      Teacher's book drive benefits from students' love of giving

      The focus now is how to get all the donations shipped to Africa



      When first-grade teacher Leslie Rucker launched a used book drive at
      Chenoweth Elementary School last month to help kids in Africa, she
      reckoned she'd be lucky to get a few hundred donations.

      "If anything I figured our problem would be a lack of a response," said
      Rucker, who has taught in Merced for nearly two decades.

      Rucker was wrong. A week after the drive began, Chenoweth students had
      answered her call with nearly 1,000 books. Now, with more than 2,000
      piled up in her living room, Rucker is facing a different problem: how
      to pay to ship more than 800 pounds of books halfway around the world.

      "It's overwhelming, but in a good way," she said Tuesday. "It's a
      problem we're happy to have."

      Rucker conceived the book drive with her 26-year-old daughter, Amanda. A
      Chenoweth graduate herself, Amanda is now living in Namibia, Africa,
      where she's been working as a Peace Corps volunteer for the past year.

      Rucker hopes to mail the books to her daughter in January, when the new
      school year begins in Africa. Amanda will then deliver them to several
      schools in Outjo, a city of about 5,000 people 250 miles from Africa's
      western coast.

      "The idea was to donate a few books to a couple schools to help kids
      there learn English," Rucker said. "We thought it would be a good way to
      help children there, but also to teach our own students about giving."

      And give they did. Some students came with grocery bags full of books.
      One kindergartner filled his backpack so heavily with donations that it
      ripped on his way to school, Rucker recalled.

      "We only sent home one little note asking for books, and we got all
      this," she said. "Students are still coming in with them."

      Rucker thought she and her husband could cover the postage. But as the
      books started adding up, so did the shipping price. The post office has
      estimated the cost to mail all the books at $3,500, and Chenoweth is now
      looking for donations to help cover the expense.

      "We're hoping to get a few larger donations to keep things simple, but
      we'll take any help we can get," Rucker said. She and her husband have
      already started reaching out to a few local organizations.

      Tara Bright, Chenoweth's principal, said she thinks the book drive has
      given her students a new appreciation for education. "I think they're
      seeing that a lot of people in the world don't have books, and they're
      lucky to be in a positive to give," she said. Rucker agrees. "There's
      more to education than test scores," she said. "I think our students
      learned a lot from this."

      To help Chenoweth mail the books to Africa, contact the school at (209)
      385-6620, or call Leslie Rucker at (209) 383-3616.


      Nathan Hale Sargent

      Public Affairs Specialist

      Peace Corps San Francisco Regional Office

      (510) 452-8446

      (510) 452-8441 fax

      www.peacecorps.gov <http://www.peacecorps.gov/>
      (Peace Corps Volunteer: Armenia 1998-2000)

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