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A new Little Free Library opens

Suffolk celebrated a fitting end to National Reading Month.

On the sunny morning of March 26, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office officially opened its newest Little Free Library.

This new box is on the north side of the building facing Bank Street. Like other Little Free Libraries, folks can take a book and leave a book. Each box is decorated by local students to represent the area that the box is located.

“This box and project have exceeded my expectations,” said Katie Jones, the community engagement officer for the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office. “This is a true example of what happens when everyone comes together for a group effort.”

The box was designed by two Suffolk Christian Academy students, Lizzy Powell and Elizabeth Bunch.  The intricate design process took three months to put together. The sides have scenes from Suffolk, including the front of the courthouse and a Suffolk Sheriff’s Office SUV. The most notable feature is the scene on the back of the box that shows Sheriff E.C. Harris reading to kids at a playground.

“I love giving back to the community and working with kids,” said Powell, a sophomore at Suffolk Christian Academy. “This was one way I could give back and show God’s love through it all.”

“I feel very proud,” said Kimberly Hutton, the art teacher at Suffolk Christian Academy. “I was just kind of there to encourage them, and they did the rest. There is a very strong feeling of accomplishment seeing it in place. It was an awesome opportunity.”

The books inside were donated by the UPS Store off Centerbrooke. This location is rated number four in the country for its fundraising out of 5,000 locations, and has given more than 16,000 books in Suffolk in the last four years.

“Our mission is to bring literary awareness to both kids and adults in Suffolk,” said Amy Eichelberger, owner of UPS Store 5885. “This is a great outlet to get books out during this time of COVID.”

Another notable participant in making these Little Free Libraries happen is Lowe’s on Main Street. This location donated the lumber needed to build these boxes across the city.

“Lowe’s is so excited to be a part of the Suffolk community,” said Mike Kaelin, store manager at Lowes on Main Street. “Giving back is a core value, and it is a privilege to be a part.”

More Little Free Libraries are planned to go up around the city, as well as blessing boxes. Instead of books, these boxes will hold needed items such as canned foods, masks, toilet paper and other needs. As the pandemic continues, these boxes can provide a safe and easy way to spread positivity throughout the community.