Student donates 60 bags of books

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Elisha Wasden, a South Orange Middle School eighth-grader, donated 60 bags of books for the participants of the Rising Stars reading program that took place this summer. He raised more than $1,000, with the help of friend Maggie Hanley and her mother, Jenna. His mom and dad pitched in as well to get his total to $2,000. Those funds were matched 50 percent by Usborne Books & More, so he was able to provide $3,000 worth of books.

Each bag included grade-specific reading books, activity packs and a note from him, reading: “Hello, friends! I hope you enjoy your new books! Thanks to my friend, Maggie, and all those who donated funds to help with the book drive. These books are our gift to you. Keep reading!”

He delivered the books to Vice Principal Sheila Murphy at Seth Boyden Elementary School. Murphy was Elisha’s second-grade teacher when he attended Seth Boyden. She told him, “This donation will change lives.”

He was so excited he’s already making plans for future book drives. To participate in one of Elisha’s future book drives or to host one, email

Photos Courtesy of Annelisa Blake-Wasden