AMES, Iowa — On a snowy Sunday morning in Ames, some Iowans were out braving the elements, trading their old children's books in exchange for family photos with the Easter Bunny. But it wasn't the first time that Gale Gehling has been collecting those donations.
"I knew there was a need in the community," Gale said. "And so far, in the last month, as part of our project, we've collected nearly 3,000 books, and all of those books now have been donated within the community."
The Boys and Girls Club of Story County and Martha's House of Hope are just a few of the local organizations that have received those books.
It's part of what Gale calls her "Fabulous 50 Project", which she started as she closes in on her 50th birthday.
"I thought, well, I want to donate or give my time, or items or financially to 50 different organizations within our community," she said.
Gale and her husband Ryan began collecting books from neighbors back in February. And pretty quickly, the drive grew a lot bigger than they were anticipating.
"It's been amazing," Ryan said. "It seems like anything that Gale puts together for a community event gets a great gets great support from the community, and a lot of people turnout. So we really appreciate that."
And they aren't planning on slowing down anytime soon. The couple hopes to keep up the momentum by collecting 500 children's books a month into the future.
"We'll just do it endlessly," Gale said. "People are constantly now contacting us saying, 'Are you still accepting books?' And absolutely, we are accepting books all the time."
If you'd like to donate any children's books of your own to the project, you can reach out to the Gehlings here.