20,000 Books for NYC Schools



                    Lucas at his home, which was filled with more than 300 boxes of books!


January, 2012


Lucas does it again! Last year, Lucas Gabriel, then a high school freshman, blew us away by donating a whopping 10,000 books he’d collected for New York City school kids. But, he says, “I wanted to go bigger.” So for his sophomore effort, Lucas, now 15, more than doubled that number.  After spending six months leaving donation bins in schools (including his own, Christian Brother’s Academy in Lincroft, NJ.), hitting garage sales, plastering flyers all over his neighborhood, and going door-to-door, Lucas collected a staggering 20,321 books. On January 20, along with his mom Katrina, dad Chris, and a team of movers, Lucas delivered the haul to the Center for Fiction; from here, the books will be distributed to schools through The Center's Books for NYC Schools program.


Lucas is already thinking even bigger: “Next year, he wants to it to be 30,000 books, and for his senior year, 40,000,” Katrina says. “And then he’ll pass it along to his younger sister.” The challenge this year, she says, was that moving the book drive from spring to fall meant that it was competing with holiday drives for clothing and toys, but “everyone was in a giving mood.”


Donations large and small poured in, with some 4,000 books collected at a friend’s dance studio, a contribution of 500 books from a mother wanting to honor her late son’s memory, and individuals calling the Gabriels’s home to ask how they could give.


Not surprisingly, when he’s not engaged in charitable work, Lucas loves to read. His favorite authors are Harlan Coben and Rick Riordan.


Thank you, Lucas!