Although the drop-off location for book donations to the Porterville Library is still closed, on Wednesday the location was opened for a special donation drop-off that came all the way from Danville, Ca.. The Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) of Danville organized a book drive that brought in thousands of books, and on Wednesday volunteers from the church drove a packed U-Haul truck to Main Street in Porterville to deliver the books in person.

Mike Johnson, a teacher at Burton Middle School, reached out to CPC after the devastating fire destroyed the historical Porterville Library in mid-February to see if there was anything the church could do to assist in the need for books to replenish the library. CPC fully embraced the need and took on the challenge of collecting books to donate.

“I put a bulletin announcement out in our church and we put it on social [media] and then a week later we went into shelter-in-place,” said Deana Dickerson, the Director of Missions at CPC. “So I still wanted to be able to collect books so, in short, basically I tried to take advantage of the fact that people were sheltering in place. I encouraged [people] to do an early spring clean and donate their clothing and books. We told them the books would be coming to a town called Porterville. From that we created a curbside pick-up.”

Dickerson had those wishing to donate their books fill out a form to let CPC know when their items were available for pick-up, and then designated a day when volunteers could go and pick up the items from the curbside. 

“People literally left their clothing and books on the curb,” said Dickerson. “We picked them up and have been storing them in the church until today when we drove them down here.

“As a church, we want to be known for helping communities, for being there for our firefighters, for our schools. So it’s all around this idea of being for. And not just for us as a church but for others, because Jesus was for us. We care about that message of course, but it’s portraying to the community that we are for people. So when [Johnson] reached out this was a no-brainer of a way for us to be for another community.”

Boxes of every size had been stacked into the moving truck, and a group of nearly ten volunteers showed up at Centennial Plaza to help unload the boxes. John Lugan, a teacher a Strathmore High School, said that he brought some books that were donated from the library at the Rancho Mobile Park in Exeter. Lugan also stated that once school starts up again, he is hoping to get the Strathmore High Key Club involved in replenishing the library. 

While the drop-off location for library donations will remain closed, library staff was grateful for the massive donation on Wednesday. 

“Thank you to the community for thinking of us and supporting us,” said Tony Arellano, library supervisor. “The library has always been about community, so it’s fitting.”

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