In 2009 my husband and I created Caleb’s Project to honor the short, but precious life of our son, Caleb Paul Zellner, who died before birth. His due date was December 26. Because I wanted to have a happy Christmas for my other children, I decided I should focus on something positive. And so we began to do a service project each year in his memory.
In 2017 Caleb’s Project is a book drive to create a library for Kamgere Primary School in Kenya.
The book drive began September 1. So far, the support of our family and friends has been amazing, but we are not done yet.
I work as a children’s librarian in an elementary school in Savannah, GA. I love books and love sharing books with children, so naturally, the idea of creating a library appealed to me. And I wanted to think of ways to run the book drive so that friends who live outside the Savannah area could contribute.
We decided to use GoFundMe to raise the money for mailing and shipping. Within 48 hours we had raised the $500 we needed for one library!
I created a wish list on Amazon with some of the books we would like to include in our library in case anyone wanted to buy books. Recently, I received a box full of books from Amazon from an anonymous donor. Now I need to add more books to the wish list.
A friend who lost her 26-year-old daughter set up a wish list on Usborne Books. She held a showing of those books and is donating all the proceeds to Caleb’s Project from those sales.
My school holds a Family Reading Night once a month. In October, the focus will be on Africa and our book drive. We will have videos and information about Africa in the library. Because we want students to get involved in the book drive, we will ask them to donate a book and make a bookmark to go into a book.
Through Caleb’s Project, I have connected with other mothers who have lost children. They will each make a book label to honor their child for one of the books in the library. As we work together, we are all mindful of these words from an anonymous source:
“When a baby is born, it’s a mother’s instinct to protect the baby. When a baby dies, it’s the mother’s instinct to protect the memory.”
This year our book drive is protecting Caleb’s memory.
If you would like to know more about Caleb’s Project and the tremendous response to our book drive, take a look at www.facebook.com/calebsproject.
Kim Zellner, September 2017
Start Your Own Book Drive
Read our Book Drive Guidelines to learn all you need to know to collect, sort, pack and then mail your books to our warehouse, where they will be containerized for shipment to Africa. Your goal is to collect 1,000 appropriate books and approximately $500 for shipping and related costs. Double this and you can start two! Triple it and… you get the idea. To get ideas from other book drives — how they’ve collected their books and raised their funds.
We ship books all year round. Our typical calendar is:
- Ghana in February
- Botswana in March
- Malawi in June
- Kenya in July
- Uganda in August
- Lesotho in September
- Sierra Leone in October
- eSwatini (Swaziland) in November