(MEMPHIS) A Shelby County charity is having a feud with the United States Postal Service. Shelby County’s Books From Birth is affiliated with Tennessee’s Dolly Parton and her Imagination Library. She got involved to make sure every kid in the state has a fighting chance to learn.
“This was Dolly’s whole dream”, said Pat Brogan, a longtime volunteer. “At least if parents couldn’t read and children couldn’t read they had a book in the hands and they could turn pages.”
Brogan helped launch the program in Memphis where some 34,000 books are mailed each month. If there’s a wrong address, the post office holds the books and Brogan picks them up, until recently when Brogan visited a branch in Collierville.
“She said I can’t pick up the books”, said Brogan.
She said workers denied her, saying the charity only bought bulk rate stamps, meaning if the address is wrong, the books get destroyed. If they want them back, they have to pay more postage.
“It costs more money to package it and have it destroyed then let us have it back”, said Peter Abell, the Executive Director of Shelby County Books From Birth.
In 2005 the post office agreed that destroying the books wasn’t smart. The postmaster agreed to hold the books and allow the group to come pick them up. Times have changed, there’s a new postmaster and he’s reportedly going by the book.
“We just want a resolution to be made, in the meantime we can agree it’s not OK to throw away and destroy perfectly good children’s books”, said Abell.
WREG TV reached out to the post office to get their side of the dispute but our phone calls weren’t immediately returned.