(UnitedVoice.com) – There’s a saying: reading is good for the soul. But it was the saving grace for one girl as she went through an extremely trying time in her life. She wanted to share her source of solace, leading to an extremely thoughtful initiative to spread the love of reading to those who may very well need it most.
Emily Bhatnagar’s world was turned upside down last year when her father received devastating news on her 16th birthday — he might only have a few days left to live. From then on, she was often caring for her dad and helping to run the family’s bread shop, Monsoon Kitchens. It wasn’t long before it all took its toll on her. Emily developed anxiety, depression and even an eating disorder resulting in her hospitalization and removal from school. But, she says she got through even the direst moments because of her love for books.
This deep devotion inspired an initiative that’s improving the lives of countless others.
The Birth of For Love and Buttercup
When she was growing up, Emily turned to books as her escape. Forming “For Love and Buttercup” helped her channel her anxiety into something she feels is worthwhile, helping others through a shared interest. Bhatnagar started by posting on a local neighborhood site, Nextdoor, asking for book donations. She’d accept anything slightly used or new. Her reality far exceeded her expectations.
Expecting only a few responses, she was soon overwhelmed by the outpouring of support as boxes upon boxes of books stacked up outside her home. This generosity allowed her to branch out from her initial goal of providing books to pediatric cancer patients. Instead, she was able to distribute the donations to several healthcare facilities around her hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland.
In October, she made her biggest donation yet — 2,215 books delivered to the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. Each had handwritten notes of encouragement and handmade bookmarks, a special touch for ailing patients.
All of the facilities she’s donated to have received her donations very appreciatively. Inova Cares Clinic for Families Senior Director Fadi Saadeh has nothing but praise for her. “She is an amazing person. Emily is going to have a huge impact on our patients.” Allie Slocum, who works at the Children’s National Hospital, said the books are impactful for children in many ways, “Reading helps to distract them and makes the time go by quicker.”
While Emily Bhatnagar may have had a lot to deal with at the young age of 16, her resilience has led her to become so much more.
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