LAKEHURST – Bibliophiles, be jealous. More than 10,000 books, donated by people across the country, were delivered to Lakehurst Elementary School March 12.
Okay, don’t be too jealous. The school lost all its books from a massive mold problem over the summer. A concerned military family, whose children attend the school, reached out to Operation Paperback for help. And, they helped.
“It’s from all over the country. There’s people who sent stuff from California,” Shannon Christensen told The Manchester Times. “When they hear that it’s for kids, especially military families, people went out of their way to help.”
A GoFundMe page to raise money to help replace items and help with clean-up costs was set up back in September. However, a Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst parent, whose children attend the school, reached out to Operation Paperback for help.
The operation was started in 1999 when CMS Rick Honeywell was deployed to Kuwait for a four-month stint. There was no recreation of any kind, so Honeywell’s wife Chrissy sent a huge care package of candy, games and books. Her father, Dan Bowers, pulled paperbacks from his collection to send over, and encouraged others to do the same. Soon, Rick Honeywell’s squadron had 500 books and needed to build shelves.
So while Operation Paperback mostly focuses on getting books into the hands of soldiers overseas, Chrissy Honeywell believed the school, which does serve military families in the area, should receive the Operation’s help.
“There has been an overwhelming response to this initiative and we are so thankful to be in receipt of book donations from countless entities. We would like to thank our military families, coordinators of Operation Paperback, local schools, families and communities for their thoughtful donations to help rebuild our Media Center book collection!” Lakehurst School Superintendent Loren Fuhring said in the district’s February newsletter.