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Folsom woman behind Maui book drive gets worldwide response

Folsom's woman gets global response for Maui book drive
Folsom woman gets global response for Maui book drive 01:47

FOLSOM — A Folsom woman who launched a book drive for people on Maui has been overwhelmed by a worldwide response.

In one week, she's received donations from as far away as Australia and she says she's just getting started.

Jen Sweeney's Folsom garage has transformed into a global Maui donation drive nerve center.

"I just started it with the hopes of getting 200 books to bring with me over to the island so I could stay in a shelter and read to the children," she said.

In one week's time, Sweeney has collected thousands of books weighing more than 2,000 pounds — that's more than a ton.

"I am totally surprised and amazed and blessed," she said. "The whole thing is just amazing."

Sweeney is a children's author who once lived in Lahaina on Front Street. When she saw the destruction, she decided this would be her way of helping.

"It's just very near and dear to my heart," Sweeney said. "I mean, everybody has been touched by Maui. Everybody."

She is coordinating the deliveries with Maui emergency management who will disperse her books to different schools and shelters. A freight company is offering 50% off the delivery.

Sweeney is heading to Hawaii in two weeks for the first time since the fires. She also has a goal to help the burned-down Lahaina library refill its shelves once it's rebuilt.

She said the moral to the story is "that we're all the same, that we all help each other heal."

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