Woman gives Orange County children the gift of books

Published 10:30 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


What began as an idea to help give back to the students of West Orange Cove Consolidated Independent School District, became a gift to more than one school district affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Emily McKee, currently residing in Austin, following in her mother’s footsteps, saw a need for the children in Orange, many who lost their homes and classrooms during the storm.

“My mom was very passionate about children having their own books,” McKee said during a phone interview. “She started Book of Their Own. Being away from Orange, I thought collecting books would be an easy way to help.”

Help is exactly what McKee did as teachers and librarians from West Orange, LC-M, and Orangefield, with the aid of Dal Sasso Realty Company employees, loaded their personal vehicles with box after box of novels, readers and picture books to replace reading material lost during the historical flooding event.

“I was overwhelmed with the response,” McKee said.

McKee, a 2002 WOS graduate, collected approximately 2,000 books.

In an initial email sent to WOS Elementary Literacy Coach Annely Domas, McKee wrote:

“The thinking was that many kids probably lost their personal books, so these could help supplement and give them some books of their own, again. I also know that some school libraries were decimated, so maybe these could also help in that department.”

Domas, along with Little Cypress Elementary Librarian DeeDee Windham, and Orangefield District Librarian Sunshine Copeland, quickly accessed which box needed to go to which school.

As an unidentified teacher mentioned the greatest need for picture books for the younger students, the others quickly hand her the next box filled with such material.

Emily McKee added approximately 30 people donated books or funds to purchase books for the drive. She, with the aid of her mother, transported the books to Orange from Austin.