Standing in a cavernous St. Vincent de Paul warehouse on Chad Drive, executive director Terry McDonald and I survey stacks upon stacks of identical cardboard boxes, each one the size of a watermelon crate. It’s quite a sight. The stacks tower toward the ceiling and stretch horizontally wall to wall, and their Lego-like arrangement creates the shadowy alleys of a deserted city at sundown.
All told, the boxes contain more than one million pounds of used books.
McDonald tells me matter-of-factly that St. Vinnie’s receives about 30,000 pounds of books a day. The discarded books are sorted and priced and placed and sold, each one turned for a small profit that eventually circles back as some form of help for the community’s needful — as housing, clothing, food, jobs.