Gale Gehling Opts To Give Back In Milestone Year

Gale Gehling has a milestone birthday on the horizon — the Big 5-0, as she calls it. But rather than dread the day as it approaches, the parent of a Gilbert High School graduate and a current Gilbert Middle School student, is embracing it.

She’s not wallowing. She’s thriving. And through determination and a tireless work ethic, she’s giving back to those organizations that mean the most to her and her family.

Gehling is calling it the Fabulous 50 Project — her effort to give back to 50 organizations by the time she reaches her milestone birthday on Dec. 9. And one of those organizations is our very own Gilbert Schools.

“I’m being intentional about giving,” Gehling said on a recent visit to Gilbert Elementary. “I have 20-some organizations that I’ve given to already, so I’m getting there. And hopefully I’ll exceed (50 organizations).”

Gehling and her family — husband, Ryan, eldest daughter, Olivia, and youngest daughter, Jasmine — recently began collecting children’s books to donate to Gilbert Elementary. In less than two weeks, through her own collection and the donations of others, she had more than 1,000 books to donate.

“You think that, someday, you’ll save them for your grandkids, but then you realize they’ll have their own library,” Gehling said. “I have discovered in these last two weeks since I started gathering books, there is a need in our community.”

Gehling and her family donated enough books to Gilbert Elementary for every student — nearly 400 in all — to choose one book to take home and keep. And the goal is to do that each month through the end of the year.

“We’ll see if we can do it every month,” Gehling said. “I just think it’s pretty cool. I realized how much the cost has gone up for the book orders and I would not want somebody to go home without books.”

Because there is such a need, Gehling has made it her mission to keep the donations going. She’s constantly on the lookout for new donations and says a bin will be set up outside Gilbert Elementary for those that wish to join the cause. She says community members are also welcome to leave donations on the porch of her house at 3324 Preston Circle in Ames.

“The more books the merrier!” she said.

In addition to Gilbert Elementary, Gehling also contributes to other organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Story County, Raising Readers, Ames Public Library, Little Libraries, The Bulldog Book Cart, Martha’s House of Hope, and multiple local food pantries. The goal is to collect at least 500 children’s books each month.

“We all have the potential to impact a person, cause, and community and this is my year to be extra intentional about it,” Gehling said.

This is just one more example of how our Gilbert CSD students and families go above and beyond for the betterment of the entire community. We cannot thank the Gehling family enough for its work and contributions to our district!