Inspired by local women who have chosen to leave behind lives of abuse and addiction, a Hilliard woman recently launched a book drive in hopes of supporting their efforts.
In May 2012, Jill Basom began a blog with the idea of sharing her love of crafting and do-it-yourself projects.
Since that time, however, maggiemaysgifts.com has evolved to include another of Basom's passions: philanthropy.
While she didn't set out to take up causes for people in need, the "Maggie's Mission" portion of the blog -- named for Basom's 3-year-old daughter -- recently brought volunteers together to create and donate 500 greeting cards for children and teens in central Ohio foster and group homes.
Last month, Basom initiated her latest Maggie's Mission, by starting a book drive to provide at least 200 new or used inspirational, nonfiction books to the women at Amethyst, a nonprofit organization at 455 E. Mound St., Columbus, that provides long-term addiction and trauma treatment for homeless women and their children.
"I just wanted to get one book per woman, like an inspirational book," Basom said. "Amethyst is just a wonderful program and I thought something like an inspirational book could help keep them motivated."
Basom said she was particularly drawn to Amethyst because the women who enroll there have chosen to seek counseling, treatment and career coaching.
She noted the women weren't ordered by a court to change their lives, but rather are open to accepting help, and they've agreed to the conditions of a program designed to improve their lives, as well as the lives of their children, who also live at Amethyst's 140-unit apartment complex.
"The point is to give them inspiration and hope, and I'm also hoping that these women will see that total strangers, people from different communities, are rooting for them and supporting them," she said.
Those interested in contributing to the book drive can receive more information by clicking on the Maggie's Missions link at maggiemaysgifts. com. Inquiries also can emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actual book donations should be mailed to: Amethyst c/o Maggie May's Book Drive, 455 E. Mound St., Columbus 43215.
Basom said she has already received help from the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Upper Arlington Public Library "Friends of the Library" groups and as the Tri-Village Lions Club.
She's also amended the drive to ask that shelving be donated to Amethyst to help the organization build a permanent library at its facility.
"The fact that people are even thinking about these women and putting the time and resources into this makes a huge difference in these women's lives," said Nanon Morrison, Amethyst development director. "To even feel like they're worthy of receiving is something very hard for them to conceive.
"This project gives our women hope and it helps raise their self-esteem and confidence to know they are worth loving."
Morrison credited Basom's book drive for initiating the library project at Amethyst, and noted it will be an important link to education, which the organization's administrators believe is "the way out of poverty."
"It really started with her calling us and saying she had an interest in doing this from her heart," Morrison said.
Basom said she'll continue to use her blog to help others whenever "something is tugging at me," just like when she was compelled to reach out to the women at Amethyst.
"I just wanted to do something for these women," she said. "They're making an effort, they're trying to make a change."