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New Children's Books Shredded by USPS - John Dunn

Updated: Wednesday, December 4 2013, 11:07 PM CST

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thousands of brand new books meant for Tennessee children are being shredded by the Postal Service. After six months of trying to find a solution, the Governor's Books from Birth program says the post office is now destroying undelivered books. The post office has just started shredding about 2,000 books every month instead of allowing them to be donated. They are books marked with an address that is no longer valid, and many people believe destroying them is wasting money.      

Brooke West enjoys reading to her two small children. Free books are mailed to her Nolensville home each month. About 217,000 Tennessee children are signed up for the Books from Birth program. "Really enjoy getting exposure to books that I wouldn't have read otherwise, and they have become family favorites," says Brooke West.

You may not realize what happens to the books that the Post Office can't deliver. "Instead of being able to be picked up they are recycled, which means they are shredded," says Theresa Carl, President of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation.

Each book costs a little more than $2, which is paid by donations and state tax dollars. "It does feel wasteful because we know we could do immediate good with those books if we get our hands on them," says Carl.

For nine years the Postal Service did return undelivered books to the foundation, and then it decided it wasn't being paid for that service. The Postal Service released a statement saying it "cannot offer a free service to one organization when other organizations...are paying for the same services."

The Books from Birth Foundation would like to be able to donate the undelivered books, but because it pays a reduced mailing rate, the Postal Service says it's not entitled to having them returned. "We wish and feel like there are solutions that could be worked out if you continue to focus on children," says Carl.

Parents like Brooke West say learning that books are shredded is troubling. "The thought these books are getting destroyed...that just shouldn't happen.  It doesn't need to happen," says Brooke West.

She knows other children would be happy to receive a new book too.

The Books from Birth Foundation says it's not feasible to pay extra mailing costs because it would be too expensive.
Instead they want to remind you to always change your address when you move. You can change your address by visiting this website.

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

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New Children's Books Shredded by USPS - John Dunn

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