Betty Porter simply wanted to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. She had no idea her effort would involve several months, hundreds of people, thousands of books and a semi-truck driven by a guy named Chuck.
Porter, an assistant director in Xavier’s McDonald Library, is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Library Consortium. The day after the hurricane hit, the group’s executive director, 1980 graduate Anne Abate, put out a call for children’s book donations. Porter, in turn, put out a call around campus. She also combined her efforts with a local Catholic elementary school, and together they netted 5,400 books, all of which were donated to St. Clement of Rome Catholic School in Metairie, La., which suffered devastating flood damage. “Their principal and librarian were thrilled because they lost all these books,” Porter says.
The books were shipped along with 450 additional boxes Abate collected. Abate also snared a truck donated by Southern State Community College, a driver named Chuck Morris, and volunteers who loaded the truck in the rain on Friday, March 31.
Porter says the experience was “certainly rewarding,” and Abate is amazed that so many stepped up to help out “when we had absolutely no clue where these books were going.”