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OISD donates outdated textbooks

ORANGEFIELD — Nearly every year local school districts deal with storing and discarding outdated textbooks. One local district has created a third option.
The Orangefield Independent School District has spent the majority of the recently completed school year preparing to ship outdated textbooks overseas.
“This really has been a year-long project,” said Kim Smalley, OISD curriculum coordinator and textbook coordinator. “It’s been a district-wide effort to collect these books and prepare them for shipping.”
According to the Rotary International website, as part of Rotary International’s World Community Service (WCS), donated book projects are developed and implemented by individual Rotary clubs in connection with international development and relief efforts by private volunteer or non-governmental organizations or other overseas Rotary clubs to provide books to developing countries.
Books of all education levels are sent to many different countries located in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Latin American regions.
Smalley said the 22 pallets of books being shipped overseas are out of adoption textbooks just from the previous two school years.
The books, boxed and wrapped on pallets, were collected by WalMart and were being transported to Exel, Inc. in LaPorte, Texas. WalMart agreed to pick up the books for free, as long as it was enough to fill the tractor trailer.
Once the books arrive in LaPorte, they will be combined with other books and placed into an overseas shipping container. Once ready for departure, the container will be transported to an overseas area of need where not only will the books be utilized, but the container as well.
“These books are used in classroom settings, and, in many cases, the containers the books were shipped in become makeshift classrooms,” Smalley added.
Larger school districts with thousands of students take part in the program regularly, but many smaller school districts are unable to do so because those districts do not have the larger amount of books preferred at one time for a donation.
“This is our first time to do this,” she explained. “Rotary pays to ship them overseas. It’s easier for the large school districts, but a lot of smaller districts, like (Orangefield ISD), have to throw them away.”
Smalley said many people across the district were vital to the success of this project and wants to be able to continue to donate outdated textbooks.
“Hopefully, this will be something we can continue to do for many years,” Smalley said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely for a good cause.”