Bilbro begins Haiti fundraising effort

Published 11:08 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

When Washington resident and writer Michael Bilbro published his first children’s book last year, he hoped to inspire a love for reading in youngsters.
Now he’s hoping the book will, in some small measure, help ease the suffering of the young residents of Haiti.
The book, titled “Where Do They Go?,” follows the magical journey of a young boy and his grandfather. It was published last March and Bilbro is currently putting the finishing touches on his next book, which he expects to be released this summer.
“I’m donating copies of this book and working with a nonprofit group out of Florida right now,” Bilbro said. “They’ll deliver the books to children in Haiti. But I’m also trying to help a cause of some sort by getting people here to sponsor a book.”
Sponsors would have their names inscribed inside a book that will eventually end up in the hands of a Haitian child, Bilbro added.
“I’m thinking perhaps the money could go toward purchasing supplies for schools in Haiti, to help them with their schools,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do something for that area and I wanted to know where the money would go. I especially wanted to do something for the children there.”
Bilbro hopes the emphasis on the project will be less on him as an author and more on the idea of small towns, such as Washington, helping other small towns in need.
“Our own experience with this is really through a newspaper or a television right now,” he said. “I guess the closest thing we’ve had has been Hurricane Katrina.”
The suffering of Haitian children following the earthquake hit close to home for Bilbro, the father of two girls and a boy.
“We were eating dinner on trays in front of the television when the news had a report about Haiti,” Bilbro said. “Here my children were in a comfortable home with everything at their beck and call. It kind of hit me that we have so much here and we take so much for granted.”
Bilbro feels that even with a language barrier, Haitian children will enjoy the book with its colorful illustrations by Winston-Salem artist Michael Graham.
“I’ve been doing some research and Haitian-Creole and French are mostly the languages spoken there,” Bilbro said. “The book, of course, is in English but the younger children, in particular, should enjoy the pictures and just having a book in hand.”
Bilbro is asking sponsors to pledge a minimum of $20 per book.
“But that doesn’t mean I won’t do it if a child wants to give $10,” he said. “I’ve already had people sponsor about 20 books and we’ve raised close to $1,000. I’m hoping to donate 500 copies of the book.”
Bilbro said the project will continue through the summer months.
“All the money for the books is going to help those in Haiti,” he said. “Nothing is going in my pocket.”
For more information about sponsoring a book, contact Bilbro at 252-702-7700 or visit his Web site,