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Book drive binds hurricane victims ‘with love’

By Tim Croft
The Star

A Mexico Beach resident and the city’s Community Development Council are partnering to give from one hurricane-ravaged area to another. 

Alexis Cooksey and the MBCDC are collaborating on “The Binding With Love Book Drive” in hopes of distributing new or gently-used books for areas of Louisiana smacked by Hurricane Laura last month. 

Specifically, Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, both particularly hard hit. 

And with, at press time, Tropical Storm Sally heading to a similar landing this week, the need is certain to grow. 

“We received overwhelming support from so many after Hurricane Michael that I knew I wanted to pay if forward,” Cooksey said. “My daughter lost all her books from the storm and it broke my heart. 

“So, I thought a book drive would be a small way we could show our love and support for those affected by Hurricane Laura.” 

And Cooksey lived through the eye of the hurricane as Mexico Beach took a direct hit from Michael, flattening the community. 

The book drive continues through October

In other words, Mexico Beach is a city that continues to rebuild from the devastation with a full understanding of the impacts a hurricane can have on a community and its residents, said CDC executive director Kimberly Shoaf. 

And while there has been recovery in Mexico Beach, nearly two years after Michael the road back remains long, she said. 

“Our story on recovery continues to be written,” Shoaf said. “Those hit by Hurricane Laura are just now beginning to write their own road to recovery story.” 

The goal is to collect new or gently-used books to be shipped to Louisiana. 

All age ranges, subject and styles of books will be accepted and the drive will continue through the end of October. 

Those wishing to donate may either drop off books at the Mexico Beach Welcome Center or mail books to the Mexico Beach Welcome Center, 102 Canal Parkway, Mexico Beach, FL 32456.