A Birthday Bash In Birmingham Brings Books For Biloxi

Books for Biloxi, the idea took shape during a special time each year when most of us expect to receive rather than give. It was the brainchild of Melinda Groover, who for her husband's 50th birthday, decided the family would give gifts instead of receive them.

"My wife Melinda wanted to do the birthday party, and I was really resistant, you know, just another birthday. But, because there was some meaning and some kind of value behind it, it was really the thing that made us feel that we should go forward with it," says Greg Groover of Birmingham, AL.

"An item is a gift that you enjoy from someone, but when you're able to do something else that's really a greater gift," says Melinda Groover, Greg's wife.

But, the birthday bash for books grew even bigger when Clarissa's Harms, a long-time family friend, agreed to celebrate her birthday with Greg Groover to help the people of Biloxi.

"If our birthdays can be used for that excuse, then we're more than happy to do it for a greater good," says Clarissa Harms of Birmingham, AL.

They brought in a wide selection of books, and there was no shortage of one of the most highly requested ones, Harry Potter.

The families say they also donated the books in honor of Melinda Groover's mother, Ruth Kinnerly, a teacher, who loved to read.  Kinnerly, loved to visit Biloxi.  It was the last place she came to visit before she died.  They donated a book showcasing one of her favorite artists Edward Hopper.

The Groover's oldest daughter Shilo, also lived and worked in Biloxi before and during Katrina.

"I'm still aching for the people that are still suffering and rejoicing for the ones that are recovering.  Offering a way to escape the destruction by jumping into a book seemed like such a beautiful way to help rebuild, not just their physical homes but also their hopes and their dreams," says Shilo Groover, Little Rock, AK.

The families say they hope to have made some dreams come true with more books on bookshelves in Biloxi.

The family says they hope to make this birthday book bash an annual event.