Reading can be a great escape for many people, regardless of age. In the summer of 2020, during the pandemic, reading was one of 9 year old Oola Breen-Ryan’s favorite pastimes. Wanting to share her love of books with other people, she started distributing books she’d read and enjoyed to her close friends, then adding little items like hand-bound journals and bookmarks to fit the general theme of the books. Soon, Oola was doing this for a nursing home, and then she reached out to a local homeless shelter, where she and her parents created 21 boxes, each with a unique theme, for kids ranging from 9 months to 17 years old. Oola’s non-profit reading initiative, “Reading Treasury,” was born! So far, Reading Treasury has donated 164 books, 69 handmade bookmarks, and about 72 journals to children in need.
Some of Operation Hope’s clients were fortunate to recently be on the receiving end of this kindness. Oola donated baby reader gift bags for the holidays, including a handmade quilt, stuffed animal and baby book. One of our clients, a new mom, was ecstatic to receive such a lovely gift. Thank you to Oola and her parents, Susan and David, for finding a way to encourage a love for reading and to be the light during a time when many are struggling.