Author Creates Charity of Bookgiving

Barbara Vey -- December 11th, 2013

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It always warms my heart to hear of authors taking up charitable causes.  Recently I heard of Anna DeStanfano’s Hearts for Hearts program and I talked with her about it.

BV:  What is Hearts for Hearts?

AD:  Hearts for Hearts is the realization of a dream of mine—to inspire myself and others to reach out into our communities and make a difference in our own back yards. I’m a writer. I spend a lot of time working alone and talking online with other writers and readers. But I love and write about community and what it really means to me: loving your friends and neighbors, sharing their ups and downs, and being part of their lives, especially when the road gets rocky. Being there, showing up in a crisis or when there’s a need, that’s everything.

In short, Hearts for Hearts challenges participants to give books they already own to assistance groups and others in their communities—recipients who can’t afford to purchase books of their own. Even if you have very little time and money—even if you have only a few books to give—you can participate in this exciting program.

BV:  Why did you start this particular program?

Authors Sandra Elzie and Debbie Kaufman unload books and homemade cookies to Georgia based mobile home park

Authors Sandra Elzie and Debbie Kaufman unload books and homemade cookies to Georgia based mobile home park

AD:  I was talking with Nancy Berland, my publicist, about my past and what inspires me to write the emotional things I do and how I’m hoping to see readers encouraged by my characters’ challenging journeys and happily-ever-after endings, to pay the experience forward to people in their families and community. That’s when Nancy said, “I had a thought last night. Have you ever considered …”

Fast forward a few months, and Hearts for Hearts has become this amazing way for
people to reach out and brighten the lives of others—building community, one story at a
time.

BV:  How are groups chosen?

Local hair salon offers free haircuts for the needy at the same event

Local hair salon offers free haircuts for the needy at the same event

AD:  We’re asking readers to choose who to donate to. What’s important to your community— that’s where you can make the most difference. There’s a list of helpful tips on the Hearts for Hearts program page on my website. Some examples of donations already made and ideas for you include:

• Participating in a holiday party thrown by a local business in my area (my hair salon donated cuts to the residents of a mobile home park near us, and I brought along home-baked cookies and books donated be me and author friends).

• Donating books to a community center for foster kids (several YA author friends are helping me do that this holiday!).

• Taking books to facilities for the homeless, sober living, seniors, veterans, battered women, etc.

• Contacting your YMCA for ideas, which I’ve done, and my family and friends and I will now be helping seed senior and children’s libraries there for members, many of whom live on fixed incomes.

BV:  Who can get involved and how?

AD:  That’s the beauty of this! Anyone who loves to read and has books to share can make a difference. All the info you’ll need can be found here. And we’d LOVE to hear about your ideas and donations (and share your pictures!) through my Anna DeStefano Author Facebook page.

BV:  What are your goals for the Hearts for Hearts program?

AD:  The sky’s the limit for how far we can take the program. It’s really up to readers and fans, how long we keep this going. But to start, we’re challenging ourselves to have 1,000 books donated by Christmas, and we’re already well on our way. Wouldn’t it be great if by the end of the year we achieved a Hearts for Hearts book donation project in all fifty states?

I know many other authors do a lot of charitable things.  Please feel free to list your charity in the comments.  I encourage everyone to find something they believe in that can help others and support it. 

Bottom Line:  Giving back is something we should all think about throughout the year and not only in the holiday season.

6 thoughts on “Author Creates Charity of Bookgiving

  1. Debbie Kaufman

    I was so excited when Anna told me about this program. I’m such a reader that I can’t imagine being in a situation where I couldn’t have a good book to read. It makes purging your bookshelves practically painless when you know the books are going to someone who might really need the respite of escaping into a good book!

  2. Anna DeStefano

    Thanks so much for the enthusiastic support, Barbara. So many amazing writers and fans and friends and industry professionals are already joining in. I’m amazed and so excited about where Hearts for Hearts can go!

  3. Sandra Elzie

    Like so many of our authors out there, I love the idea of helping wherever we can. When Anna told us about needing books to brighten the day of some folks who are going through a rough patch, well, it was a privilege to help out. Thanks to all who “pay it forward.” Merry Christmas !

  4. Michael Larsen

    Congrats! What a great idea! Every December from now on, we’re going to suggest to the 3,000+ readers of the San Francisco Writers Conference newsletter that they share their love of books and support their communities by donating books. In the invitation to our holiday party, we ask those who wish to bring an unwrapped new or used children’s book for the Children’s Book Project, which has donated more than a million books to schools and other organizations. There’s also Project Homeless Connect, which is in more than 200 cities. Keep up the wonderful work!

  5. Aaron Zerah

    Dear Ones: What a beautiful idea and practice! Now, thanks to the ebook, we authors have an additional way to share books freely to virtually anyone in the world who has access to a digital device. Blessedly, these days, that even includes hundreds of millions of very poor who now have affordable – and life-transforming – cell phones. Worldreader.org is doing a wonderful job providing the children of the world with books that so many have never had access to before. I am delighted that one of mine is reaching the children! I am also sharing freely all four of my previously-published, great-spirited books on the http://www.atozspirit.com website. There anyone in the world can receive as free gifts books that will delight children, enlighten and encourage people of all spiritual cultures on their journeys, and bring comfort and peace in times of grieving. Please share the spirit with all your friends and beloveds!

    Great Blessings and Love,

    Aaron Zerah

  6. Carlton Lee Arnold

    I was contacted by Focus on the Women, a non-profit organization to help Afghan abused women. They had selected the books that I had published to be help in their obtaining contributions. They found the books to be appealing to their audience. They only sell ebooks at a greatly increased cost in the interest of additional funding for their cause. I would never have thought of this idea, and I think it is great. I am actively participating with them in this effort. They currently are promoting my first three books and will begin promoting the fourth book, “Life-Changing Verses About Men” in January. I look forward to their receiving significant contributions due to the books that I have written. I feel there is a God purpose for all of the writing.

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