Buckner Westminster Place collects books for tornado victims - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Buckner Westminster Place collects books for Oklahoma tornado victims

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Mary Frances Farris, a resident at Buckner Westminster Place, collects children’s books for the Moore Books for Moore Kids book drive. Mary Frances Farris, a resident at Buckner Westminster Place, collects children’s books for the Moore Books for Moore Kids book drive.
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Released by Buckner Westminster Place

LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) Little children in Oklahoma cling to blankets, stuffed animals and picture books as they try to understand the devastation and loss around them caused by the influx of recent tornados.

In response to the disaster, people are donating many different resources that the community needs to rebuild itself, including children's books. Buckner Westminster Place, an active senior living community in Longview, is teaming up with a program called Moore Books for Moore Kids to hold a book drive for the residents and the pubic to assist the rebuilding of the elementary teachers' libraries in Moore, Oklahoma. Former teachers who reside at the senior living community are actively involved with the project and hope that they can encourage others in East Texas to help contribute.

"I feel for the families and children in Oklahoma that have lost so much," expressed Mary Frances Farris, a retired teacher and resident at Buckner Westminster Place.

"I am all in favor of doing anything we can to help them. I have ties in Oklahoma and have been there many times. My husband and I both have families there and used to take our children there all the time. I think the books are a great idea because children really cherish books and love being read to. My aunt used to give us books for Christmas each year, and my favorite one was Pinocchio. I used to teach school in North Texas and I still volunteer to read at local elementary schools on occasion," Farris said.

Buckner Westminster Place will hold a kickoff for the book drive on Thursday, June 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

During the kickoff, retired teachers in the community will read children's books to the kids who come and drop off books for the drive. The drive will continue for ten days and close on June 30th. The community will have boxes in the lobby for residents and the public to drop off their book donations.

Barron's bookstore will also be accepting book donations on behalf of Buckner Westminster Place. They are collecting new and gently used books.

"We are trying to get a variety of books for the elementary school children in Oklahoma," expressed James Anderson, a retired teacher and resident at Buckner Westminster Place. "Reading helps children expand their vocabulary, spurs the creative thought process and helps them recognize word patterns. I taught school for 28 years at Pine Tree School and I used to read the Newbury Award books to my students. They loved it! I would read several pages at a time, and when I was through with the book all the children would rush to the library to try and check it out."

The drive will benefit children who attend Plaza Towers & Briarwood Elementary, whose classroom libraries were destroyed by the tornado on May 20th. Administrative members at Buckner Westminster Place will travel five hours to hand deliver the books to a local church in Oklahoma City that is accepting the books on behalf of the elementary schools.

"We feel for the children, teachers and families in Oklahoma that lost everything due to the recent tornado disaster," expressed Wes Wells, executive director at Buckner Westminster Place. "When we were considering different ways we could help out, we came across the Moore Books for Moore Kids program and immediately wanted to participate. There are many retired teachers who reside in the community and many other residents that just love kids. This seemed like the perfect way for us to give back and help others."

If you are interested in attending the kickoff event for the book drive, call Lauren Witt (214) 890-7912 ext. 42 or send an email to lwitt@fortepr.com

ABOUT BUCKNER WESTIMINSTER PLACE

Buckner Westminster Place, a Buckner Retirement Services community, is a non-profit, faith-based senior living community offering 89 independent living apartments and patio homes for active adults aged 62 and above. In addition, the community offers a continuum of care including 30 assisted living apartments, 25 memory care support residences and 20 private bedrooms in the Green House® homes for skilled nursing care. Buckner Westminster Place is the only complete CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in Longview which accommodates these four levels of living and care as residents' needs change.

Located near the Longview Mall and just minutes from area medical centers, Buckner Westminster Place gives residents a beautiful way to live. The community includes a 16-acre lakeside setting with walking trails and spacious well-manicured grounds

Residents can enjoy delicious dining and warm fellowship in beautifully arranged dining rooms. The community also has an on-site life enrichment coordinator, chapel, full-time chaplain, on-site worship services, beauty/barber salon and weekly housekeeping/linen service.

A partnership with the Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living gives residents and staff access to a wellness center that includes classrooms, a resistance pool, a track and exercise equipment. The community provides transportation to the wellness center.

For more information about Buckner Westminster Place, please visit the community website at www.bucknerwestminster.org or call Blake Lambert at (903) 252-6736.

ABOUT BUCKNER RETIREMENT SERVICES

Buckner Retirement Services, Inc. is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 470,000 people each year in the United States and 18 countries worldwide.

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