Peninsual Woman Returns To Impovrished Hometown Bearing Gift of 5,000 Books


500 books sounded like a reasonable goal to Mayrose Munar.

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Munar, from Redwood City, had just returned from visiting her hometown of Kekeha, Hawaii on the island of Kauai and realized her old elementary school needed some help. Particularly in the library.

In 1992, Hurricane Iniki had devastated much of Kauai, including Kekeha. Most of the island has since recovered but not Munar's old school.

"When I went home, and this is 20 years later, they still had two shelves left in the library," Munar said. "I was shocked to see that after so many years that they had not put the books back."

That is when the idea of donating books came to Munar, who has had a successful career in Silicon Valley working or the some of the leaders in the technology world like Google and Uber.

Munar returned to the Bay Area and with a friend began to organize a book drive among friends and neighbors.

The results exceeded her expectations. By a factor of ten.

"Over 5,000," Munar said, "and people are still coming in and dropping off."

The generosity of people, many of them strangers, has touched Munar.

"It's this golden thread of connection that's just happening," Munar said.

Late last month, Munar returned to Kauai to personally oversee the delivery of the 5,000 books to her elementary school. She was there to witness the first books making their way into children's hands.

Munar says this is just the first step in her effort to help the schoolchildren of her hometown.

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