Group walking from Menomonie to St. Paul to donate books to Afri - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Group walking from Menomonie to St. Paul to donate books to Africa


Menomonie (WQOW)- A group of walkers are doing what most of us wouldn't dream of possible: walking from Menomonie to St. Paul so that donated books can get into the hands of those who truly need them.

"Reading is everything," says participant Lori Gordon.

That's the message participants in the "Book Walk for Africa" are remembering as they embark on a grueling journey.

The goal is to bring one of these used books all the way from Menomonie to St. Paul over a three-day period that covers nearly 70 miles.  The walk started at UW-Stout.

"I thought it was appropriate that we should acknowledge Stout because Stout has given us probably half-a-million dollars worth of books over the years," notes Group Founder Tom Warth.

The group will stop in Baldwin on Friday, Hudson on Saturday and finish up at the Books for Africa Heaquarters in St. Paul on Sunday where the books will then be shipped off to Africa.

"I turned 59 last month and I just thought that if I'm going to walk 60 miles, I better do it now," Gordon laughs.

People are on standby in case help is needed along the way.

"The way I look at it, I go to the State Fair.  I walk all day.  I go to San Francisco.  I walk all day.  So it's no different it's just Wisconsin," replies Gordon.

Books for Africa started 25 years ago.

"I went to Africa in 1988 and I found a library which had no books.  I'd been in publishing so I came back and got together with a few book sellers and publishers and we decided to send a few books and we did that," remembers Warth.  "And now we have sent 28 million books."

Books donated by UW-Stout are those that could not be re-used by students so the university believes donating them makes the most sense.

"Every year we get these high-quality books.  Transition to Advanced Mathematics, that's too much for me but I think it will be good for college students in Africa," laughs Warth.

"There are libraries in Africa with no books and the kids get them and they just soak it up," Gordon explains.

This may be a walk through the Midwest, but their actions will be felt half a world away.

Those participating in the walk are responsible for their own lodging during the trip.  People could also run or bike if they wanted, but no one chose to do that on Friday. 

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