In August of 2018, the world lost a beautiful and brilliant soul, Dr. Hindi Krinsky. Hindi, a 32 year old English teacher, passed away suddenly from a complication of Crohn’s Disease, leaving behind her five incredible children (Eliana, Ezra, Hudi, Dorit, Abie) and adoring husband Dovid Kanarfogel.
A few months after her passing, Dovid teamed up with Hindi’s former colleague, Leslie Gang, to create what is known today as Hindi’s Libraries. While the initiative began as a small school project to commemorate Hindi’s legacy with a Little Free Library box on the campus of the school where Hindi taught and the children attended, the two found themselves receiving continuous book donations at an overwhelmingly fast pace. By the year’s end, Dovid and Leslie formed Hindi’s Libraries, an international nonprofit organization that collects new and gently used books and donates them to children across the globe at no cost to the recipients. The organization absorbs all costs including shipping costs and supplies.
Since its inception, Hindi’s Libraries has donated more than 800 boxes of books to organizations spanning across all 50 states, India, Africa, Puerto Rico, and Israel, and a most recent partnership with Teal Botanicals to ship books to The Philippines. Recipients include medical centers, pediatric offices and clinics, schools, homeless shelters, foster care agencies, Little Free Library Stewards, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations that serve families and children in need. The organization constantly receives book donations from community book drives, children’s authors as well as corporate partners including Disney Publishing Worldwide and Barnes & Noble.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hindi’s Libraries temporarily paused its book shipments and instead focused on the needs of the community. Many parents found themselves at home with their children while sheltering in place, without any books to read. Leslie hosted several “Book it Forward” events, where parents and educators could “shop around” Leslie’s garage and driveway for free gently used children’s books. Hindi’s Libraries donated more than 5,000 books through this effort.
In late May of 2020, Hindi’s Libraries resumed its bulk book donations by partnering with local nonprofits including Birthday Wishes, Gammy’s Pantry and the food distribution at the MLK Center in Long Beach, NY, to provide books to families throughout Long Island and Queens. Later in the summer, Hindi’s Libraries resumed its out-of-state shipments. In the spring, the organization was also deemed a recipient of the Little Free Library Todd Bol Award for Outstanding Achievement. https://www.liherald.com/stories/cedarhurst-based-hindis-libraries-receives-achievement-award,125121
In the Fall of 2020, Leslie Gang teamed up with more than 50 members of the community to host the organization’s first Read & Treat Initiative. More than 3,500 new books were distributed to children in the community with the effort led by Hindi’s Libraries. People from Oceanside, Hewlett, Lynbrook, Far Rockaway, Woodmere, East Rockaway and the like received a box of new reads from Leslie Gang, co-founder of Hindis Libraries. The books were then gifted to any children who visited participating homes over Halloween weekend.
Books were also given to local medical centers including Mount Sinai South Nassau Family Medicine in Oceanside, the Family Health Care Center in Central Islip and various Queens Public Schools as part of the Read and Treat program.
In November of 2020, Hindi’s Libraries joined forces with Peninsula Public Library in Lawrence, NY to host their 2nd Annual Gobble Gobble Book Fest. To kick off the holiday season, the nonprofit helped cultivate the power of kindness and giving by offering free children’s books to all of the event’s attendees. Attendees received bags to fill with great reads and also had the ability to create a Thanksgiving Care Package to be donated to Birthday Wishes Long Island. More than 2,500 books were distributed to members of our community, and Hindi’s Libraries also received a tremendous book donation from a recent book drive held at Bnos Esther Malka in Brooklyn. This event was held outdoors while following all social distancing guidelines and protocol. We welcomed more than 150 guests from the community, young and old.
As the temperature dropped, Leslie once again partnered with locals in the community to volunteer from the comfort of their homes in order to expedite book shipments. Supporters stop by the Hindi’s Libraries HQ to pick up recently donated books and bring them home to sort, review and label. Once the books have been organized and stickered, Gang packages the donations to be shipped to recipients across the globe. With community support, Leslie has shipped more than 75 boxes since December of 2020.
As of January 2021, Hindi’s Libraries has collected more than 115,000 children’s books to families in need.
Leslie Gang is cofounder of an international nonprofit organization called Hindi’s Libraries which donated new/gently used children’s books to recipients around the world. Leslie hasn’t had it easy, and she has showed all of us who know her just how easy it is to make a difference and an impact on the world.
Leslie Gang (maiden name Reis) was born in Long Island New York and lived in Far Rockaway with her immigrant parents until she was 12 years old. In 1999, Leslie’s father abandoned her family and she and her mother moved to Long Island New York. Leslie attended a private school in the community where her mother, Izabella, works as a bookkeeper and graduated High School in 2003. She continued on to Boston University where she graduated with honors from The School of Communications in 2007 specializing in Public Relations. Along the way Leslie was involved in community service throughout her college career and spearheaded a group that benefited children who attend summer camp for those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and raised thousands of dollars for the organization, Camp Heartland.
After graduating college, Leslie worked in her alma mater as an assistant to the principal and left to Westchester Day School in 2010 where she spearheaded the marketing and communications department. She then returned to her prior place of employment as the director of communications, admissions, and alumni relations in 2011 where she worked for 8 years. Leslie has worked in the admissions and marketing field of nonprofits for more than 10 years and is now the Dr. of Admissions and Communications at the Brandeis School in Lawrence, NY. Leslie married Jason Gang in 2008 and has 2 children, Alexandra (7) and Simon (5).
In the summer of 2018, Leslie was a victim of sexual assault in her community and rather than shutting down, she let it empower her and proved to herself and those around her by starting Hindi’s Libraries in memory of her former colleague.
Yes, this organization RELIES COMPLETELY on volunteers and community support. Leslie began the Bunch o’ Bookworms- predominantly consisting of high school volunteers- who review EACH donated book, sort it by age, and label it. In addition, Leslie also partnered with various people throughout the country (families, children, etc.) to inspire them to run book drives in their local community, and she remotely helps them go through the sorting/labeling process and helps them donate the books within their community (even if 2,000 miles away).
Leslie has inspired this “assembly line of good” that leads the community to try to do good and be better. Several community members have contacted the organization to show how the co-founders empowered them to make a change. One woman in New Jersey has asked Leslie for guidance on how to begin a similar donation process for adult books to donate to those incarcerated. Another community member has asked Leslie how to help create a children’s book that inspires children to love art, and would donate proceeds of sales to Leslie. Dozens of people have contacted Leslie (in Baltimore, California, Michigan, and Florida) to start their own book drives for the organization in their own communities. Leslie has a fire, and everyone wants to be ignited.
Leslie’s main goal has been to receive funding to help her actually travel around the country when donating the books and create a literary education program to integrate with the children to help encourage reading and show them the power that lies within a book. She’d love to work with teachers, students, and children all over the world to run interactive workshops with her recipients.
Leslie has been an inspiration to all who know her throughout her life, both personally and professionally, and continues to show us all just how much inner strength one can have when faced with a challenge or obstacle.
Leslie hasn’t had it easy, and she has showed all of us who know her just how easy it is to make a difference and an impact on the world. Leslie is a force to be reckoned with and inspires EVERYONE she knows to step a bit out of their comfort zone and do good for someone else. She’s my rockstar and I love her. You will too.
Take 3 minutes to google “Hindi’s Libraries” and you’ll see EXACTLY what I mean. I promise.
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