By Sarah Richardson
Sarah Alderson of Alderson’s Store is continuing their popular annual holiday Children’s Book Drive for the seventh year, but they are still several hundred books short of their 600-book goal with mere days left to go.
“About seven years ago we started this project as a book drive for Alderson Elementary, with us needing about 200 books. It was such a success and went so well that the next year Ronceverte Elementary reached out to see if we could include them, as well, which means we have been gathering 600 books for all of the kids at both schools,” explained Alderson. “Most all of our books are written by West Virginia authors, or they have West Virginia subject matter or tie into the state. But the majority of our books are written by authors from the state.”
The drive makes sure that each child at Alderson Elementary and Ronceverte Elementary gets a book on the last school day before the holiday break. This means that the deadline for donations and for purchasing a book is Wednesday, Dec. 20, the same day that the books are distributed out to the schools.
“People can come in and select books, or give checks or cash in-store, or mail a check,” said Alderson, “but the quickest way to donate is either by coming in or donating through PayPal.”
To accommodate the wide age range of the kids, books range from picture books to chapter books. “I’ve expanded the diversity of the types of books over the years, we try to include some middle-school age books for the kids who read at that level. When we get monetary donations it’s really great because I can fill in the gaps of what types of books we are still needing, I can help fill in the chapter books,” explained Alderson.
With 300 books still needed to make their goal as of press deadline, they are only halfway to the finish line. “This has been the first year that we’ve been this far away from the goal with only a few days left,” said Alderson. “Even during the pandemic, we made it, we did it. We absolutely commit to this, and we love doing it, and we need the help of the community to do it, but once we commit to it we are going to do it.”
Alderson mentioned that Gov. Jim Justice himself mentioned the book drive during one of his press conferences earlier this week, which she hopes will help them reach their 600-book goal before Wednesday.
The average cost of books is around $10, with some as low at $2.95, and others in the $3-4 range, and some selections above $10. “There is a wide range of prices,” said Alderson.
Alderson’s Store is located at 320 Monroe Street South, Alderson, and they are open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come in or call during store hours, or message the store on Facebook at “Alderson’s Store” to send book requests and payment information. Checks can also be mailed to Alderson’s Store, P.O. Box 594, Alderson, WV 24910 or monetary donations can be made via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Most importantly, you’re giving to a child, but at the same time, but you’re also supporting a local business, and West Virginia publishers and authors. During the pandemic we actually really helped one distributer with our book drive get through the year.”