Action Book Clubs across the country are combining reading with community service. In this series, we’re highlighting some of our favorite reading groups. To find out how you can start an Action Book Club of your own visit the program’s web page!

Location: Kings Park, New York

Good Read: Various YA and children’s books

Good Deed: Hosting a book drive for South Oaks Children’s Psychiatric Hospital

Book clubs and wine are a great pairing. In fact, the name of this Action Book Club is the “Wine Women & Words of the North Shore Book Club.” But this club does more than have fun—they give back to their community.

For their recent Action Book Club activity, they held a book drive for South Oaks Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. Club member Stephanie Rabell says they chose this activity because “we wanted to make a difference and put a smile on the children’s faces. They wanted a library so badly.”

The book club of six enlisted the help of their community to make a bigger impact.

“We reached out to anyone and everyone,” said Stephanie. “It was amazing how many people were willing to donate new and gently used books for the children at the hospital. We also wanted the community to be more aware that mental health in children is so important and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

“The whole experience was so humbling. The children in the hospital wanted a library and told the nurses this. Once I got whiff of this, I knew we had to help build this library for them. So my friend Betty and I made it our mission to get them a library. Through everyone’s generosity we were able to succeed.”

The project was such a success, that the Action Book Club is expanding their efforts.

“The children and nurses were so happy with the way the book drive turned out,” Stephanie said. “In fact the nurses on the adult units were so impressed that they asked us to do a book drive for them and make them a library. Of course we couldn’t say no! So we are currently in the process of another book drive and this time we recruited more members of our book club to help out. It’s going to be epic!”

Words of wisdom from the Wine Women: “Anyone can do this. It just takes time and patience. There are so many generous people out there to help, you just have to look for them.”

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