Darien Book Aid Is Asking for Contributions to Help It Raise $5,000 for a Matching Grant

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A “generous donor” has offered a matching gift to Darien Book Aid if the local nonprofit can raise $5,000 in May, so the organization is asking supporters to help reach that goal.

“We are more than halfway to our goal,” Peggy Twitchell, president of the organization, said in a fundraising email sent out on Thursday, the half-way point of the month.

“Thank you to those of you who have already given. Your doubled gift will impact the educational outcomes of so many individuals who currently don’t have access to important resources,” Twitchell wrote.

She reminded supporters that Darien Book Aid is  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit “with the highest-level ‘Four-Star’ rating from Charity Navigator,” Charity Navigator is a charity assessment organization that evaluates hundreds of thousands of U.S. nonprofits.

You can donate here.

New Opportunities

Here’s more from Twitchell’s email, in which she discussed recent developments in Darien Book Aid:

“This matching gift honors our 75th Anniversary and will provide us with much needed funds to ship books to Peace Corps Volunteers around the world.

“Since Peace Corps Volunteers returned to service last year, we have received more than 320 Peace Corps book donation requests. PCVs need the books to set up libraries, literacy clubs, and English language lessons, among other activities. Our hand-selected books do so much to help their communities, but we need funding to mail these books overseas.”

About Darien Book Aid

The organization’s description of itself on the About page of its website includes quite a bit of its history:

We are an ALL-VOLUNTEER group of caring individuals interested in improving the world through literacy and education.  We donate hand-selected books to communities in need around the world.  Every book we donate has the potential to teach critical literacy skills, improve reading fluency, build proficiency in the English language, increase knowledge and spark imaginations, curiosity and a love of learning. […]

We were founded in May of 1949 when Mrs. Gordon Lamont of  Darien conceived the idea of sending good reading material to share the  American way of life with war-torn Europe.  Gathering some friends together and with the  help of Ambassador John Davis Lodge and other government officials and generous contributions from Darien residents, Darien Book Aid Plan was formed.

Two girls reading books from Darien Book Aid

Photo from the Darien Book Aid Plan website


Book collection containers were placed in stores, schools,  and churches in Darien. The Red Cross, school children, and the Kiwanis Club  helped with the collections.

The women first worked in an old school building with no  heat or facilities. By wearing gloves, sweaters, and ski suits they persevered.  After stints in several makeshift quarters, they purchased the old Noroton Fire House in 1959. Book Aid has been at 1926 Post Road ever since.

Kids with Darien Book Aid books

Photo from Darien Book Aid fundraising email


For many years, we enjoyed financial support from the  government — first from the State Department and then from the Peace Corps. Currently  we have no government or other organization affiliation. We depend on private contributions to pay our shipping costs.

Darien Book Aid started as a women’s volunteer group; men were  invited to join in 1986. They have been a vital part of  the organization ever since.  The four boxes shipped in 1949 are now 20-30 boxes each week.  Between 16 and 20 tons each year go to 190 countries and all 50 of the United  States.

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