Youth book collector, 12, has noble goal in mind

A 12-year-old girl from Plymouth is half way to her goal of collecting a million gently used books for needy children.

Already she and volunteers through their organization, Read Indeed, have collected 618,702 books.

Maria Keller, a sixth-grader at Orono Middle School who loves to read, got the idea when her mother mentioned that some kids don’t own books.

So, at the age of 8, she began to collect used children’s books. At first friends and relatives donated books that filled her garage.

Since then, the collection has grown, as people hold book drives and hear of this work. A non-profit 501(c)3 under the name Read Indeed runs the drive for books.

Volunteers sort and pack up the books in a warehouse in Hopkins, where they are shipped to schools and nonprofits who work with children.

Most of the books are distributed to schools, orphanages, food shelves and crisis centers in the state. Some, however, are sent to orphanages and organizations that work with children throughout the country and to Africa and South America.

The adult books go to Green Books that sends them to needy adults, particularly those in assisted living facilities.

On specific dates listed on the Read Indeed website, you can bring used books to the Read Indeed warehouse in  Hopkins,155 Jackson Ave., Suite 20, Hopkins.

From June 16 to July 15, the public will be able to drop off used books at any M&I bank, and for 20 books you can receive a free pass to a water park.

To find out how you can volunteer and donate money and the book drop dates at the warehouse in Hopkins, go to [email protected] — Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers