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Adopt-a-Book Program Brought to Sparta by Local Children

Jennifer Dericks

Thursday, November 21, 2013 • 3:21pm

SPARTA, NJ - It started with a social media connection, when Kelley Merwin reconnected with a high school friend, living in another state on LinkedIn. She discovered her former classmate's 10-year-old twins had started a charitable organization called Adopt-a-Book. 

Merwin's daughter and her friends, all Sparta students, decided to bring the idea to Sparta.  Kenzie Merwin, Raina Dhand, Corinne, Katie and Kelly Groome and Kate Ryan are all pitching in to "collect new or gently used books for disadvantaged kids in our community," Merwin explained. Their mothers Vaishali Dhand, Erin Ryan and Betsy Groome are all lending a hand.

Adopt-a-Book was started by Hannah and Alexander in the fall of 2011 after they read an article about children in Cincinnati who did not have books. Being avid readers they could not imagine children without books to read. Together with their parents, they "started Adopt a Book because we felt this wasn't acceptable," according the non-profit's web page. Since forming in November 2011 they have donated more than 25,000 books to children in and around Cincinnati, in Indiana and even Zimbabwe. They were happy to add Sparta to the list of participating communities.

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The local organizations that will receive the donated books in Sussex County are Auxiliary of Newton Medical Center-Sparta Branch, DASI and Birth Haven. They will also be giving books to Tilly's Kids, House of Mercy Mission in Newark. 

There are blue bins placed in every Sparta school, and at Sparta Books, to receive donations. Donna Fell, owner of Sparta Books, is offering a 10 percent discount for any new book purchased for the drive. So far Merwin estimates they have collected about 700 books. The drive will continue through Nov. 26.

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