Book drive for kids continues this year

A book drive continues this year in the name of Ann Brown Ashcraft to supply books for children who are at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. 

Ann Brown Ashcraft was the daughter of Horn Lake’s first mayor Winn Brown, and his wife Annie Ruth Brown. She was also the wife of Lee Ashcraft, who is known in DeSoto County for his work with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.  

Ashcraft passed away in 2017 and the family annually celebrates her legacy and love for books with the “Ann’s Heart for Books” project, a fundraiser for the Forrest Spence Fund. It is a nonprofit organization designed to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families.  

The fundraiser was held last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic with the donation of 1,663 books to the fund and sent on to the hospital. 

The Forrest Spence Fund office in Memphis this past year did sustain damage in a fire and is in need of extra books this year due to a shortage after inventory was damaged in the fire.  

The books collected are included as part of what is called a “Care Bag,” given to the hospital patient and the parents.  

The greatest needs are for books for the younger age range of 0-4 years. The books can help promote parent-child bonding and exposure to reading from the earliest days of life.  With COVID-19 hospital visiting restrictions in place, books have become even more important as a resource for families feeling isolated.

One special restriction this year for the book drive is that the books must be new, not used, due to COVID-19 precautions. They can be ordered online and Usborne Books and More with Lindsey Grace Darby has worked with the Ashcraft family over the years to help out through online ordering of children’s books that are then sent to Le Bonheur.  

Books may be ordered online and then shipped to Ann’s Heart for Books, where they will then be forwarded to the hospital. They may also be dropped off at three DeSoto County collection sites, which are: Walker, Brown, and Brown, P.A., 2540 Highway 51 South in Hernando; the Winn Brown Law Firm at 1613 Main Street in Southaven; and at SouthGroup Insurance at 5740 Getwell Road in Southaven.  

Darby is hosting an electronic book drive for Ann’s Heart for Books and when through the given link, Usborne Books & More will donate 50 percent of your purchase price back in free books to our book drive.  In addition, if only a monetary donation is offered, it will be matched by Usborne Books &More at 50 percent in free books.

Make out monetary gift checks to Ruth Munday and mail to her in care of P.O. Box 444, Horn Lake, MS 38637. Go to http://www.LGUsborne.com and choose “Ann’s Heart for Books” when you click “SHOP” or at “CHECK OUT”. Books that are ordered online may be shipped directly to Forrest Spence Fund Office at 3092 Poplar Ave, Suite 15, Memphis, TN 38111.  

For more information about the book drive, email: annsheartforbooks@gmail.com.

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