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5th Grader Anna Claire Dudley Collects Over 3,500 Books for Summer Book Drive

Anna Claire Dudley, fifth grade student at Butler Catholic School, loves to read. So when Father William Wuesnchel urged BCS 3rd through 5th graders in his homily during the last school weekly Mass this past May to come up with and complete a project that would help their family or community over the summer, Anna Claire decided she wanted to share her joy of reading with others.  What she never imagined back in May is that she would collect over 3,500 books to donate to children in the Butler area.

“I didn’t think that many books would be donated, so it was a great surprise when people kept donating books,” said Anna Claire.

With the help of her mom, Kathy, Anna Claire set to work collecting new and used books from the middle of June through July 20th. She made posters and shared information on social media about her book drive for children.  Father Wuenschel’s parish, St. Fidelis, included information in their weekly bulletin about book collection times and drop off locations around Butler. In total, over 3,500 books were collected in just 5 weeks.

After assessing and organizing the thousands of books collected, Anna Claire’s first donation of 1,200 books went to Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Parenting Support Center downtown Butler.  The books will be available for pregnant mothers and parents of young children who might not otherwise have the resources to fill their nurseries with books.

While delivering the books to the Catholic Charities Support Center, Anna Claire got to meet one of the very young readers who will enjoy her donation.  “I loved seeing the baby playing and interacting with the books at the Pregnancy and Parenting Center.  I’m so glad to know the books will be going to children who will enjoy and learn from them,” said Anna Claire.

Another almost 1,200 books were donated to the Butler YMCA. Children attending the Butler YMCA summer lunch program, as well as other children attending any of the YMCA summer programs, were invited and encouraged to select as many books as they liked to take home, all free of charge.

Anna Claire was grateful for all the support she received from the community in collecting books. “I’m so thankful for all the book donations, and that the book drive will help so many kids,” said Anna Claire.  She still has almost another 1,500 books that will be donated to Catholic Charities in Butler for distribution and sharing through their homeless shelter program and to families in need.

“I’m glad the project turned out so well, and I will do another project in the future,” said Anna Claire. We at BCS are thrilled with the success of Anna Claire’s book drive, and very proud of all her hard work this summer serving others and encouraging reading!