Six years ago Mackenzie Bearup was diagnosed with a very painful neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/ Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, one of the most painful and least known neurological conditions.
Mackenzie has lived in terrible pain since developing RSD/CRPS, and found that the only way to get her mind off her pain was to escape into a great book. It was during the time of her diagnosis that her doctor told her about Murphy Harpst, a residential treatment center for some of her community’s most abused children. Murphy Harpst was hoping to open a library for the children who reside there; they had the room but few books.
Mackenzie thought about how reading helped her get her mind off her emotional and physical pain, and hoped that books could do the same thing for these children. She gathered up books she no longer needed and asked friends and neighbors to do the same. Soon her book drive took off. She collected and donated over 10,000 books to Murphy Harpst, filling their library to capacity.
She thought if this facility needed books, maybe others did as well. She contacted homeless shelters to see if they were interested. They certainly were.
Today, Mackenzie has collected over 37,000 books and provided libraries in homeless shelters in 6 states including Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky. Mackenzie has recently started a non-profit organization called Sheltering Books, Inc. that works to open reading rooms for children in homeless shelters across the country.