BELLWOOD | Any number of websites could pop up when trying to make an online donation to this hurricane season’s victims – which is exactly the problem Bellwood Public Library staff aims to help solve for community members who wish to lend a hand.
On September 11, 2017, the Bellwood Public Library welcomed the community to its “Library Lends a Hand” Hurricane Relief Fundraiser; to eat, pray, fellowship and bring awareness to legitimate charities that accept donations to assist hurricane victims.
The United States of America suffered two huge, hurricanes this year – both within two weeks of each other. First, Hurricane Harvey demolished Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Next, Hurricane Irma tore through Florida. The two hurricanes caused billions of dollars in damages.
Many residents cannot return to their homes, due to flooding. The victims are struggling. According to the Texas attorney general’s office, there have been over 500 complaints of extreme price increases, with gas prices listed as high as $8.00 dollars per gallon. The Bellwood Public Library staff empathized with the hurricane victims and planned an emergency fundraiser.
“How would a person know if they were giving to a legitimate organization or someone who just posted something for the sake of posting it to make money off this?” Said Jacqueline Spratt, Director of the Bellwood Public Library. “We investigated legitimate charities, and those were the ones we posted on our website. We feel strongly, well at least I do feel that people should not benefit financially off the misfortunes of others, so we’re doing what we can”.
Sophia Brown, head of Youth Services at the Bellwood Public Library came up with the idea for the hurricane relief fundraising event. “We had an event, the solar eclipse on the lawn and the community came,” Ms. Brown said, and because it was the end of the summer we were thinking, what can we do to bring the community together again – and we thought about Hurricane Harvey. So I put a flyer together and said what about this? “They can give any monetary donation of any size just as long as we come together and you know, lift them up, encourage them in some way. Whatever way we can give, we’re just willing to give.
Community members gathered on the library’s front lawn. Nikos Pizza, Taco Patio, and JJ’s Fish on ManNheim contributed food for the festivities and library staff provided hurricane relief awareness opportunities. Spratt’s hopes to not only support the Bellwood community but to be supportive of other communities as well.
For more information on making an online donation to those in need of relief from Hurricane Harvey, visit the Bellwood Public Library’s website: www.bellwoodlibrary.org or contact the library by phone at (708) 547-7393.