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West Hartford Libraries Collecting Donations for 5th Annual ‘Kindness Project’

West Hartford Library. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Boxes are located outside of all three West Hartford Public Library locations where donations for the 5th annual Kindness Project can be dropped off.

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Libraries are once again collecting donations to help local families in need, with the launch of the fifth annual “Kindness Project” which will operate at all three branches through Dec. 1.

The Kindness Project, according to Interim Library Director Carol Waxman, “is a national model for the Collaborative Summer Library Programs initiative, in which libraries promote projects to help families with basic needs.”

Waxman said during a meeting of the Town Council’s Human & Community Services Committee Thursday morning that the program will benefit the West Hartford Food Pantry, as well as the Universalist Church’s backpack program for students.

Donations can be placed in specially-marked bins located outside of all three West Hartford Public Library branches, and the community is being asked to donate personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, hair products, feminine hygiene products, and razors, as well as paper goods, diapers, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. All donated items must be new and unopened.

“They are sorted, packed into cartons and delivered to their destinations to be placed on the shelves of the pantries for residents to self- select, or placed in backpacks picked up by families at the Faxon and Bishops Corner branches,” Waxman said in her report to the committee. “Families using the services of the Food Pantry as well as receiving the backpacks are extremely appreciative.”

The Children’s Department at the West Hartford Public Library launched the Kindness Project in 2017, inspired by the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, “a story of learning to show compassion and kindness toward others.”

Each year the Kindness Project has grown, with 3,500 items collected in 2019, and in 2020 nearly 4,000 items were dropped off at curbside tables.

More information about the Kindness Project, including what to donate, can be found on the library website.

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