Pay it Forward: Teen hopes to build a library for new women and children's shelter

Pay it Forward: Teen hopes to build a library for new women and children's shelter (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — Bella Lonardo loves books.

"I can step out into a book and completely not live where I'm living now," she said.

She hopes to share that love with families in need.

"I've decided to put a library in a new Volunteers of America shelter," she said.

The shelter will serve women and children when it opens in Murray later this year. It will be located at 697 West 4170 South.

"There's going to be a few bookshelves, some bean bags," Lonardo described.

She has been collecting all kinds of books--for both women and children--to stock the shelves.

She hopes the space will provide a place for them to escape and to learn.

"I just hope they want to read," she said.

Lonardo has to provide all the funding for the project herself, as well as find shelving, seating, and of course, the books.

She held a spaghetti dinner over the weekend and earned $140.

"We invited as many family and friends as we could possibly find," she said.

She also put up fliers around her neighborhood to get them to participate in a book drive.

"I'm hoping to get 500 to 600 books," Lonardo said.

With her project, which she is doing to earn a Girl Scout Gold Award, she wants to show people that teens can make a difference.

"I figured why not try something different and step out?" she said.

Mountain America Credit Union gave Lonardo some books and $500 in cash to help with her project.

If you are interested in helping her out, contact us through the Pay it Forward submission page, and we will get you the contact information you need. You can find the submission at this link on the right side of the page.