By Tara Cavanaugh
Over the course of just three weeks this month, Logan Elementary students gathered 5,297 books to be donated to an orphanage in the Philippines.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje visited the school to congratulate the students, especially the classrooms that collected the most books.
“We’re very, very lucky in Ann Arbor,” he said. “We have a wonderful school building, you have spectacular teachers who spend a lot of time with you and work with you. Your parents work with you at home. And you have all the books and pencils and paper that you need.
“What’s most important is that these children in the Philippines are going to have books now. You should be really proud of yourselves. So thank you very much.”
The students were also thanked by Joe Schmid and Virginia Rezmierski, who are part of the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor’s Philippines Task Force. The task force will send the books over to the Philippines. It’s been sending books, pencils, paper and crayons for nearly 13 years.
Rezmierski said the church usually collects books at the end of the school year that would otherwise be tossed in the trash. “But (Logan Elementary) did a full-blown book drive,” she said incredulously. “This is usually the amount we get from all the schools, so this is going to be a huge year.” Five districts in Washtenaw County donate books: Milan, Saline, Chelsea, Dexter and the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The Ann Arbor District Library also contributes.
The task force sends the books over by sea, not by air. It costs about $70 per box to send the books, so the task force does fundraisers to pay for shipping.
Some of the books and supplies collected this year will also go to Haiti and to the Second Mile Center in Detroit, Rezmierski said.
The school collected the books as part of its March Reading Month celebrations.