Hi, everyone!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful day from the Salina Public Library Community Helping Team! The team has changed and metamorphosed over the last three years to its present form, a team dedicated to providing the library staff and the community a means of giving to local charities and helping those in need. 

Originally, the team was gathering information with a goal of providing a central point of access for the community on what resources charitable organizations, in Salina, provided. It gradually changed to the “helping team” that chose a charity each month for library staff members to donate to in a convenient location at the library and the team delivered the bounty! Now, we have expanded our efforts to include this convenience to the wider community, by placing a nice bright blue donation bin next to the south entrance in the library. We are supporting one specific charity each quarter throughout the year. And we still deliver the bounty.

Over the last two years the team has sponsored donations for seven charities or charity events. The first was Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. Their mission statement is to provide spay/neuter surgeries, medical care and assistance to the animals in our community that belong to families in need and to assist the Salina Animal Services (SAS) with their time, labor, and interest in re-homing abandoned and stray animals residing at the SAS. Some of the volunteer duties include: walking/exercising dogs, socializing cats, grooming and bathing animals, cleaning kennels, laundry, transportation of dogs/cats to rescues, taking photos of adoptable animals, and transportation to off-site events. In addition, they perform some clerical duties and they help find and train people for the very important foster parent program. The library collected pet food and other pet supplies.

One month the staff collected for the Rolling Hills Zoo. They donated animal enrichment supplies that play an important role in giving the animals a positive daily experience. Keepers give the animals items that encourage natural behaviors found in the wild and help give the animals long and rewarding lives. Some of the items collected were: bagged nuts, yogurt raisins, cheerios, peanut butter, rice cakes, baby food, and salad dressing. The Rolling Hills Zoo is particularly interested in providing environmental stimuli for optimal psychological and physiological well-being for their animals.

We next adopted a family for two Christmases from Catholic Charities. Their mission statement is to provide compassionate service to all people in need throughout Northern Kansas. In addition, they strive to provide caring, professional and quality service and celebrate diversity in serving all people and work for justice in society while welcoming collaboration. The Christmas Adopt-a-Family program has been going for over ten years and they help 110-120 families a year. We were very excited to work with Catholic Charities to provide a wonderful Christmas for families the last two years!

One month the staff collected items for Salina Shares. The group feels that generosity of spirit and acts of kindness are at the heart of Salina Shares. Their mission is to: “share our time, our lives and our resources to enrich the lives of others. We invite individuals, businesses, churches, organizations and schools to participate in building our community by sharing what we can with one another.” Some of the items collected were sheets and towels (new and gently used), hygiene items, and socks. Salina Shares has many ongoing projects to help people in need. 

A fairly new organization, Homestead Ministries, provides housing, hope and holistic healing for sex trafficking survivors. They provide housing for up to six women at a time where survivors can rebuild their lives through education, job apprenticeships, professional counseling, mentorship, health care and Bible studies. Library staff collected body wash, disposable razors, feminine hygiene items, toilet paper, paper towels, and deodorant, in addition to basic pantry supplies like pasta and rice. Homestead is all about providing safe, residential transitional care for women. 

Two years in a row the staff donated to the Salina Souper Bowl of Hope. The annual event collects soup for the Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the Rescue Mission, Ashby House, and DVACK. They collect until the Super Bowl football event when volunteers collect the soup to be distributed. This year’s goal was 56,000 cans of soup! What a great way to help our community!

Last year in the spring the library collected school supplies for the May the Fourth Be With You Stuff the Bus drive. The drive was hosted by Durham School Services who also brought buses for the touch-a-truck part of the event. Besides Durham’s buses, other groups brought trucks and equipment including vehicles from the Salina Police Department, Salina Airport Authority Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, local businesses, and others. The library staff collected pencils, colored pencils, notebook paper, colored markers, dry erase markers, folders, crayons, scissors, note cards, tissues, glue/glue sticks, construction paper, highlighters, and snacks. The turnout was exceptional and the sizable donations greatly helped the students in our community.

Finally, from now until the end of June the staff is once again collecting school supplies. Although there wasn’t a Stuff the Bus event this spring, we are donating the supplies to the USD 305 Back to School Fair annual event at Lakewood Middle School. The fair is a free community celebration. The back to school fair includes: distribution of free basic school supplies to Saline County K-8 registered students eligible for free/reduced school lunches and no cost student health screenings, in addition to family fun booths. This yearly event is funded by local donations from businesses, foundations, churches, service organizations and individuals.

So, you still have time to drop off your donations in the Blue Bin at the library!