Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - Updated: 2:25 pm
At the final school Mass in May, Father William Wuenschel challenged third- through fifth-graders at Butler Catholic School to formulate and complete a project that would help their family or community over the summer.
Anna Claire Dudley, a fifth-grader who loves to read, decided to share her joy of reading. But she never imagined that she would collect more than 3,500 books in five weeks to give to children in the Butler area.
“I didn’t think that many books would be donated, so it was a great surprise when people kept donating books,” she said.
With the help of her mother, Kathy, Anna Claire collected new and used books from the middle of June through July 20. She made posters and shared information on social media about her book drive for children.
Father Wuenschel’s parish, St. Fidelis, included information in its weekly bulletin about book collection times and drop-off locations.
After assessing and organizing the thousands of books collected, Anna Claire’s first donation of 1,200 books went to the Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Parenting Support Center in Downtown Butler. The books will be available to pregnant mothers and parents of young children who might not otherwise be able to afford reading material.
While delivering the books to Catholic Charities, Anna Claire got to meet one of the young readers who will enjoy her donation.
“I loved seeing the baby playing and interacting with the books at the Pregnancy and Parenting Center,” she said. “I’m so glad to know the books will be going to children who will enjoy and learn from them.”
Another nearly 1,200 books were donated to the Butler YMCA. Children attending the summer lunch program and others were invited and encouraged to select books to take home, all free of charge.
Anna Claire said she is grateful for all the support she received from community book donors. The remaining books are set to be donated to Catholic Charities in Butler for distribution and sharing through its homeless shelter and families in need.
“I’m glad the project turned out so well, and I will do another project in the future,” she said.
Swift is director of marketing and public relations for Butler Catholic School.