Mom starts book drive for sick kids

SUMMER JACOBS

When Samantha Esau visited the children’s ward at Tygerberg hospital last year she decided something had to be done to raise the spirits of the small patients.

A lack of activity and stimulation coupled with their bleak surrounding did nothing to help the children fight their illnesses.

Unable to sleep that night, Ms Esau lay in bed thinking about the children’s ward and decided a book drive would be just what the doctor ordered. “I was visiting my daughter’s friend who had a back operation at Tygerberg Hospital in November last year. When I looked around the children looked bored. There was nothing for them to do. I had a few children’s books with me and I gave one to a boy who was just walking around,” said Ms Esau.

The following day the Table View mother emailed her friends, family and members of her church to ask them for their help.

“I asked them for books, toys and teddy bears. When I received positive responses, I contacted the public relations department at the hospital to tell them about my idea and to ask if it would be allowed and they were thrilled,” she said.

Ms Esau started collecting boxes of books, toys and stuffed animals in her small Corsa lite and every two weeks she would drop it off at the hospital.

She was also given books by the Western Cape library services but was only able to leave with a few boxes because her car was too small to take more.

To date Ms Esau has collected about 45 boxes of books alone. She said each box has about 60 books in them.

Although the book drive was planned to be a once off initiative, Ms Esau has decided to continue campaigning for books.

Now called the Tygerberg Book Angels 4 Kids, Ms Esau has asked Cape Gate Mall to help her with her drive.

“I meant to call Tygervalley Centre because they are close to Tygerberg hospital but ended up calling Cape Gate by accident.

“But it’s all God’s work because Cape Gate told me they were planning on doing something for the community and that the book drive was perfect,” she said.

Laticia Pienaar, the principal communications officer at Tygerberg hospital, said the community they serve has few recreational books.

“Without the ability to provide our patients with a book to enjoy and take home it will only be a reprieve of hospital boredom. Linking literacy and health can have far reaching benefits.

“We need books in our patients’ households. The plan is thus: one child one book.

“We therefore encourage community members to partake in our book drive by donating books to the hospital,” said Ms Pienaar.

On Saturday April 30, Ms Esau will be at Cape Gate’s centre court, from 10am to 2pm, with a drop-off box where the public can donate new or second-hand books.

Bargain Books will also be promoting the drive with a children’s reading corner in their store.

If you would like to get involved with the Tygerberg Book Angels 4 Kids drive you can email Ms Esau at samanthaesau2@gmail.com