Book donation drive helps kids at Dallas homeless shelters

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Books in the hands of kids who are homeless can make a difference, say people who work at shelters in Dallas.

So to help out, a City of Dallas employee decided to start a book donation drive to ensure kids in a tough spot have ways to learn and keep themselves entertained.

“We oftentimes see that child come in a little confused that they even have to be at a shelter. But then, maybe a few minutes later, they'll sit up on that bed, open that book and be transformed to a place that lets them know things are gonna be okay,” said Bob Sweeney, executive director of Dallas Life.

Mother Iyeala Haggan, who’s currently at the Dallas Life shelter with three young children, said the books are a godsend.

“Can have that one second of whew … it kind of even, though it’s not you, you just watch them kind of release and just have no worries just laugh and play and just enjoy themselves even for a moments time,” Haggan said.

Dallas ISD Police Officer Victoria Tsalikis, people with the Caruth Institute and City of Dallas employee Carlton Duncan delivered another batch of books to Dallas Life on Thursday.

“This is the first book that I read when I was young, which is The Hardy Boys: The House On The Cliff,” said Duncan, who came up with the idea for the book drive. “I always wanted to give back to the youth because I know how hard it is to get an education in an actual low income area.”

Duncan contacted Tsalikis, known as Officer T, about wanting to collect books to help kids. She suggested Dallas Life, because their children are also Dallas ISD students and she knows what reading can do for young people.

“We didn’t get to go on a lot of family vacations, but one thing I always got to do to escape was read a book. So I felt like that’s something small and simple that every kid -- every kid deserves a vacation and sometimes that vacation is simply through reading,” said Tsalikis.

People who would like to donate new or used books from their homes that are in good condition can deliver them to Dallas Life, which is located at 1100 Cadiz Street in downtown Dallas.