BY KATHY BARATTA
MANALAPAN – When Barbara Shapiro wanted to do away with the old and make way for the always newer, she knew it called for a special form of recycling.
Shapiro, who is the mother of twins, Steffi and Steven, 11, says she has always been a bookworm and someone who is knee-deep in books.
It seems that Steffi and Steven were chips off the old block from an early age and finding a home for the books they have outgrown, yet lovingly accumulated, over the years, Shapiro said, had to be done right. That meant they had to go to a better place than some recycling center.
So Shapiro and the twins decided to gather the books for a donation to “Bridge of Books,” a Rumson-based foundation that accepts donated books and sees that they are distributed where they will do the most good.
Shapiro said the foundation distributes books to shelter organizations and other agencies that have a need for such items.
She said what started as an idea to empty their house of books evolved into an effort that included the Wemrock Brook (grades 4-6) and Clark Mills (K-3) schools. Shapiro said student leaders got involved and inspired the student body in each building.
Shapiro, who is a past president of the Wemrock Brook PTA, said the students’ efforts were capped by an ice cream party for the class that had gathered the most books.
Steffi Shapiro said she thought her mom came up with a great idea because “it brings books, which are amazing, to other kids.”
Steven Shapiro said he has loved to read for as long as he can remember and can’t help but believe that children who are exposed to reading will come to love it as much as he does.
“I’m proud of my mom for thinking up the idea,” he said.
Wemrock Brook School Principal Jayme Orlando said the project was one that was taken on enthusiastically by the entire student body.
Orlando said the members of the student council made posters that were displayed throughout the school and touted the book-collecting initiative.
She said the student council representatives gave speeches in classes and talked about the importance of donating unneeded books.
Orlando said that all-in-all the effort was a great enterprise for everyone involved because it got books to those less fortunate than the Manalapan students. It also gave the students a lesson in human relations. She said the students felt good about getting involved and being able to help people who are less fortunate than they are.