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Women of St. Mark Catholic Church donate books to Homestead school

Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy students to receive about 3,000 books

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Reading coach and Local 10 viewer Astrid Burrows reached out for help after seeing reporters Neki Mohan and Todd Tongen collect and hand out book donations during Local 10's Big Book Drive.

So Tongen visited Burrows' school Thursday to pass out some books.

"We are here down south in Homestead, and a lot of times we are missed," Burrows, who teaches at Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy, said.

Burrows emailed Local 10 News to try to get books for her students too.

"I heard back from you all within an hour," she said.

The women of St. Mark Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches also jumped in to help.

"When we heard Mrs. Burrows needed books, we reached out to St. Mark's library that was closing for the summer and they had many, many books they were donating," Donna Rizzo, of Women of St. Mark Catholic Church, said.

"We have so many things we would like to share with those in need. We feel so blessed that we have so much," librarian Sandy Garcia said.

Box after box of lightly used books were emptied from their cars and then loaded up on dollies that were headed for a storage unit until they could get them in the hands of students this fall.

"It is going to make a big difference, because reading is the key and if the kids have access to a book, it makes a world of difference," Burrows said.

St. Mark Catholic Church donated about 1,500 books to the school and Local 10 News is going to match their donation, so the students of Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy will have 3,000 books waiting for them in August.

"Oh my goodness, my students are going to be so delighted and excited about this," Dr. Cadian Collman, the school's principal, said. "Thank you so much for doing this for our students."