Book drive to help Oklahoma victims

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POSTED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 5:10pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 8:25am

Local teachers and students are up early to help people who live nearly 700 miles away.  

An estimated 10,000 books are being loaded into a truck bound for Moore, Oklahoma. The books will stock the shelves of school libraries destroyed by the deadly tornadoes in May.  

"It makes you feel good you're doing something to help rather than just staying at home doing nothing," said Caleb Ortega, a senior at McAllen High School.  

Caleb is one of dozens of students from McAllen high schools to join their current and former teachers at the event.  

For two weeks, book donations have come into the offices of The Monitor and Valley Town Crier.  They've had experience doing this.  They did it two years ago when a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri.  

"We contacted Moore to see if they could use library books like they did in Joplin, they said absolutely, that it would be a blessing," said Chris Ardis, a former teacher who helped organize the drive.  "Sometimes it's an escape, from the realities.  Especially the realities they have faced."  

The books will leave town on Thursday in a truck courtesy of Driveline International.  

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised because a lot of people here are really trying to be involved and trying to help out anyway they can, so it's good to see all these people came out," Ortega said.  

For students in Moore, school started last Friday.  Soon, they'll have a much better reading selection because of the work of Valley residents.   

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