Cross-country tour helps low-income children receive books
by Steve Kadel
Staff Writer
Mar 28, 2013 | 782 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brenda Berg of Raleigh, N.C., (second from left) poses with exchange student Marina Kranjec, Berg's children, Anton and Kelly, and Berg's aunt and uncle, Darlene and James L. Nelson of Moab, during a stopover this week in Moab. The Bergs are making a cross-country RV trip to see the country and raise money for books for children in need. Photo by Steve Kadel
Brenda Berg of Raleigh, N.C., (second from left) poses with exchange student Marina Kranjec, Berg's children, Anton and Kelly, and Berg's aunt and uncle, Darlene and James L. Nelson of Moab, during a stopover this week in Moab. The Bergs are making a cross-country RV trip to see the country and raise money for books for children in need. Photo by Steve Kadel
slideshow
“We are literally in the middle of nowhere, but it is so beautiful,” Brenda Berg said during a recent cell phone conversation while driving a 32-foot RV through New Mexico.

Berg’s 10-year-old daughter, Kelly, 7-year-old son, Anton, and 19-year-old Swedish exchange student Marina Kranjec are along for the ride, which began just after Christmas from the family’s Raleigh, N.C., home and will pass through 48 states in seven months. They are touring the U.S. as a learning experience and to raise money for books for low-income children to keep in their home.

“The main purpose is to show my kids the country,” Berg said, “and as we travel I wanted to do some kind of service project. I’m passionate about education.”

The children are registered as homeschoolers for the trip, and regularly write blogs on www.GumpTrip.com, the website that chronicles the journey. They’ve already seen Everglades and Grand Canyon national parks and explored Arches National Park on Tuesday, March 26, while taking a break in Moab to visit Brenda’s aunt and uncle, James L. and Darlene Nelson.

The Bergs will depart Moab this weekend to head to their next stop – Sedona, Ariz. From there, they plan to drive up the California coast.

Berg said she’s already driven the RV (which the family has named Forrest after the movie character Forrest Gump) and a car, attached behind on a trailer, approximately 6,000 miles apiece – and the trip isn’t yet half over.

The Bergs are partnering with First Book Marketplace, which offers low-cost books to schools and programs serving children in need. The average price is $2.50 per book, Berg said, so each $10 donation buys four books.

She added that Child Trust, a foundation started by Golden Corral restaurants, has offered a $15,000 challenge grant toward the goal of raising $30,000 for books. So far, the Bergs have raised approximately $6,000, not including the challenge grant. Those who wish to contribute may do so on the website.

Berg and her children have visited students at some schools along the way. She said it has been eye-opening for Kelly and Anton to meet and talk with less fortunate youngsters, whom they encourage to follow the trip via their blog entries.

“These kids don’t travel,” Berg said of the children they have met who come from low-income families. “Their perspective of the world is flat. The whole idea is that we tell them about our trip and invite them to come with us through the website.”

Berg’s husband, Christer, will join her and the children as his work schedule allows, she said.

Before embarking on the adventure, the Bergs considered 400 places they wanted to see, but eventually cut the list to about 90 stops.

Berg said Kelly and Anton are excited about seeing new places and about helping put books into the hands of children in need.

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “We feel so privileged to be able to do it.”

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.