Proud to Be From Pittsburgh

Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Pitt book drive

PITTSBURGH — All across Pittsburgh, there were special deliveries to local childhood education centers.

The University of Pittsburgh, aided by people all over the country, handed out books to help children heal after the Tree of Life shooting and other recent acts of violence.

The Office of Child Development helped organize a book drive after the October mass shooting in Squirrel Hill. They carefully crafted a wish list of books that are aimed at helping children cope with fear and embrace diversity. The donations started pouring in.

"Hopefully these start to open up conversations so providers can be there to support the kids," said Shannon Wanless of the Office of Child Development.

By donation day on Dec. 14, they had 3,000 books ready to give away. Teams of students and staff fanned out across Pittsburgh, dropping off the books to children at childhood centers, including several centers blocks away from the Tree of Life Synagogue.

The centers say they have spoken to parents and teachers who are trying to figure out how to help children heal and process their emotions. These books give them a place to start.

"The other day a child shared with her mother, as she was going to sleep, she said, 'I'm afraid the bad guys are not really gone,'" said Chaya Sara Barrocas, the education director at the Early Childhood Center at Yeshiva. "Being able to pull out a book and have the language to support your children is really a gift for parents."

At Yeshiva, leaders tell us they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Pittsburgh community.

"It's a wonderful feeling to live in a city where so many loving, caring people really want to reach out and show that they care," said Barrocas.

The drive is not over yet. The school is already in the middle of a second collection and has a second handout planned, involving students once they get back from winter break.

Click here for the list of books the University of Pittsburgh has selected to collect and donate again on Jan. 18.