3/29/2015 , 7:30pm We arrived at MD Fairgrounds and assessed the situation.7:31 We are greeting by friends who showed up in advance. https://www.facebook.com/hschwartzbeck gives everyone direction. We went from a state of shock ( Carolyn Thompson), to a state of calm, as Heather shows us how we can get started before 8:00pm, on the daunting task which stands before us.
After a short time we are rolling through the boxing process, sorting the books between hard cover for the prison system (which we find out later is an unnecessary task, as they will take both soft and hard cover, unlike many prison systems). We are running out of boxes.
We brought over 100 empty boxes, but it wasn't enough. The volunteers from Smith College, go to their warehouse and get boxes. They bring them back and start taping them up. The boxes are bigger than the liquor boxes and get heavy. We are thankful. We continue to box and load the truck. One person is focusing on stacking the boxes inside the truck, while others are using the many dollies (we purchased earlier in the week), to move the material as swiftly as possible.
The four elementary school kids found rolling the dollies their task of choice. They are great at it. Heather's daughter informs, Carolyn's husband, Jack Thompson that he needs to stop using partial boxes to pack the materials. Only full boxes are permitted. Those of you who know Heather's daughter, can visualize this.
Jack explains that there are only partial boxes left. Heather's daughter said something to the effect that that was no excuse and implied that she expected him to find a solution. Obviously, the COO of her mother's company did not have rank in the volunteer world.
There are about 200 boxes of books left in bits of boxes we used to hold them. Again, Heather suggests that we stage the remaining boxes, so that they are easier to retrieve the following day.
8:00am the following day, we decide that it may be easier to rent storage space for the massive amount of items donated. The storage unit is on the second floor. We don't find this an advantage to taking space in Carolyn's real estate office.
En route to Carolyn's office, the U-Haul truck stall out 5 times. The battery is dying. The transmission which was slipping the day prior is getting worse. We make it to Carolyn's office. We start unloading the truck. In need of getting a second truck, Jack Thompson comes to the rescue and drives us to the U-Haul to pick up another truck.
At Carolyn's office, Carolyn meets a manager from Office Movers. The manager is directing a move in an adjacent office suite. She says that she's moved many libraries and often asked by the libraries where they can donate books. Carolyn hands her a card.
We arrive at MD Fairgrounds to pick up the remaining books. Time is ticking and kids need to be picked up from school.
Thankfully, Robert, an employee from MD Fairgrounds agrees to help us load the truck, while waiting for his boss to arrive. After a brief converstation, Robert explains that he could use the books for his church.
We load up material which the prisoners, specifically expressed a need for (dictionaries and other reference materials, as well as poetry and classic content).
I'd just received an email from Ruth Mewborn, Librarian for MD prison system, stating that she can take hard back books. This is great timing, as I wouldn't have loaded as many reference materials as they needed.
We say good-bye to our new friend Robert and arrive at the drop-off site for the prison system:
Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations
1100 N. Eutaw Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
After 15 minutes of confusion as to where the books are to be placed, we start bringing the books to a copy room. Then, we are asked to move the books to the library. Carolyn gives the woman who changed directions, the look she learned from Heather's daughter. It is decided that the books dropped off in the copy room are to remain and the rest of the books are to go to the library.
As we are unloading the 20 dollies full of boxes, a man jumps in to help. He has a Goodwill work-shirt on. We are unclear as to whether he is a volunteer or a worker. We are thankful for his help.
Thankful, we return around 5:00pm.
Today, we unload the remainder of the books on the broken truck.
Then we go to Chevy Chase to pick up books from a home which is about to go on the market.
The tip about the books came from a friend who Carolyn met while trying to help Habitat for Humanity with their marketing.
Many thanks to the numerous volunteers who made this possible. Together we make a difference!