Now in middle school, Wallingford girl continues charity book drive, bake sale

Now in middle school, Wallingford girl continues charity book drive, bake sale


WALLINGFORD — To make sure less fortunate children have books to read, local middle school student Chelsea Fitzgerald will again hold a book drive and charity bake sale later this month.

For the fifth consecutive year the event will benefit Read to Grow, a Branford organization that distributes books to children at Connecticut’s hospitals and to underprivileged children. It will be held at Fitzgerald’s home, 87 Sharon Drive, on July 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Money from the bake sale will be used by Read to Grow to purchase books.

The Moran Middle School seventh grader, who collects books for the charity year-round, started holding the annual fundraiser at her home when she was 7. She was inspired by her sister, Erin, who at the time received an award for community service from the town.

“I thought that was like the most fascinating thing on Earth and I wanted to get an award too,” Chelsea Fitzgerald, now 12, said. “So my mom and I started looking for (community service) to do and she said, ‘Oh well you love to read, so let’s start looking for places to give books to.’”

In five years, Fitzgerald has collected around 7,000 books for Read to Grow. As recognition for her efforts, the town has given Fitzgerald two community service awards and she was recognized by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy at a breakfast a few years ago.

Fitzgerald’s goal is to collect 10,000 books by the end of this year, her mother Gina said.

The book drive has been helped over the years by donation boxes set up at Moran and Yalesville School. Fitzgerald said the Wallingford community has shown a lot of support.

“They’ve been very, very helpful. I’ve gotten a lot of books and donations,” she said.

Fitzgerald said she can’t survive a day without reading.

“Kids who don’t have books, it’s just so sad. So it makes me very happy to see that these kids have their books,” she said.

Fitzgerald said she plans to continue the annual event through her senior year of high school, which would be its 10th anniversary.

Fitzgerald and her mom will spend the week leading up to the event preparing a variety of baked goods, which they’ll sell from a tent in the front yard.

To donate books, call Gina Fitzgerald at 203-949-0046.


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