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November 6, 2015

Northwood’s “Books for Len” celebrates 16th year

Over the past 16 years, the Books for Len event has raised over $20,000 for Northwood Elementary School with the help of the McDonald’s Restaurant on Long Pond and Latta Roads. McDonald's donates 20 percent of the proceeds from the two-night event for the purchase of books for the Northwood library and to bring in guest authors. This year, McDonald's presented a check for $1,100 to the Northwood library.

The Books for Len program honors former teacher Len O’Lare, who passed away unexpectedly in 2000. Pam Rapp started the event because of the difference O’Lare made in her daughter’s life by helping her develop a love for reading. Each new book purchased from the proceeds receives a stamp that reads, “Books for Len” and a starfish picture. The starfish refers to a story that O’Lare told his students about a man walking along a beach throwing starfish back in the ocean. When someone remarked, “You’ll never save them all.” The man replied, “Even if I just save one, I’ve made a difference.”

Teachers volunteer to work behind the counter and their students get a kick out of having their teachers wait on them. Even retired teachers and alumni come back to volunteer for the event.

Northwood students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the program. K-6 students also donated many boxes of gently-used children's books to charity.