WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville teen has far surpassed her goal of collecting books for young people, and on Friday gave the books away.

Emily Garcia, a sophomore at Saint Francis Central Coast Catholic High School, launched an effort in January to collect 650 books for the students at Ann Soldo Elementary School, where her mother works as a librarian.

After placing a collection box in Kelly’s Books and reaching out to Watsonville Rotary and to her classmates, she gathered about 1,000 books.
Garcia told the students they would be receiving a free book later that day during a lunchtime assembly.

“I’m really happy,” she said of the success of the book drive. “I’m glad we were able to give the kids the books, and that everyone in the community helped.”

Garcia started the project as a Holiday Book Drive, and planned to conclude it at the end of January. She extended that until Feb. 14 after lackluster donations brought in only 200 books.

The drive was Garcia’s community service project for the year.

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