As you can see, both schools have had serious damage. Crystal and I had discussed having an online auction to benefit our cities, which led to Crystal's project All 4 Alabama, and I emailed Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking For Salvation At The Dairy Queen, which is set in Ringgold, to ask for a signed book. She and I met for lunch, and decided we'd focus on a more long-term goal: rebuilding the libraries for Ringgold Middle School and High School. Since our lunch, the project has blossomed into something amazing. We have some amazing authors who are partnering with us (Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott) and the support of Crown Books (a division of Random House).
After this tragedy, Ringgold has seen amazing and instant support from so many places. Immediate needs are being taken care of. But we want to make sure Ringgold knows that we care about the long-term as well, which is why we've chosen to do a project that won't be as immediate, but will be something that we work on until the schools are rebuilt. We will be holding fundraisers, seeking donations from individuals and publishers, and locating resources for the school libraries until the schools are rebuilt and restocked. So now is the time to start setting aside books. What I'm asking from my readers is that you guys think of the long-term as well. When you go to book sales, buy online, and clear your shelves, think of Ringgold. If you are an author, publisher, or publicist, when you are distributing copies of your books, think of Ringgold. This is a project that can not only restore what has been lost in the tornadoes, but also to promote teen literacy.
Our first major project is to choose a name. Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:
Reading for Ringgold
Shelter for the Storm
Rebuilding Ringgold's Readers
Be A Neighbor - Give a Book
Tiger Tales...Bringing Books Back to Schools
We're still looking for suggestions to discuss at our next meeting. If the "winning" suggestion comes from one of my readers, I'm offering a giveaway as a reward. If your name is chosen, I'll send a handmade book wreath or "vintage" book recovered in a style of your choice. If you don't need book crafts, I'll let you choose a book from my collection!
To close, I want to post some of the pictures Luke and I took last night as we drove back into Ringgold. There was an amazing double rainbow right over Ringgold in the most vivid colors I've ever seen. I'm sentimental, I know, but it just seemed so hopeful.
Coming off the interstate into Ringgold
Right above the "Welcome to Ringgold" sign - you can see a little bit of the second rainbow in this one
In our neighborhood - the high school is a mile or so behind those houses