A mother from New York who died a year ago has inspired thousands of books to be given to children around the world in her honor.
Hindi Krinsky, an English teacher at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School in Lawrence, died at age 32 of complications from Crohn’s disease in August 2018.
“Hindi was a beautiful, brilliant, and unique woman,” her friend Leslie Gang tells PEOPLE. “She had the ability to inspire and empower those around her even from a brief conversation. She emanated a tremendous sense of confidence and complete originality that was evident to anyone who encountered her.”
“Because of the impact she had on, literally, everyone who knew her, everyone was numb for a while, even those who only shared a few moments with her throughout her life,” Gang says. “Hindi was a special woman — people like her don’t come around very often.”
Krinsky left behind husband Dovid Kanarfogel, 35; triplets Eliana, Hudi and Ezra, aged 9; Dorit, 5; and Abie, 3.
Crohn’s disease is a bowel disorder that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, according to Mayo Clinic. The condition has no cure and can cause severe diarrhea, fatigue, malnutrition, and abdominal pain. While Crohn’s usually isn’t fatal, patients can develop life-threatening complications.
After her death, Gang and Kanarfogel came up with the idea to build a community library for the triplets at their school and asked local parents to donate a book to place in it.
While they only expected a few books to be sent their way, within weeks the library had amassed more than 250 books — and growing.
That’s when the pair had the idea of starting the nonprofit Hindi’s Libraries to donate new and gently used children’s books to 300 organizations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Israel. Since then they have collected and donated more than 40,000 books, far more than they could have ever imagined when starting the small library at the children’s school.
“It feels surreal, honestly,” Gang says. “To know that we’ve been able to provide books to children who wouldn’t otherwise afford them, or to learn that a NICU at a local hospital has built a library for parents visiting their newborns, it makes the long nights and the book pickups all worth it.”
Gang and Kanarfogel run the organization themselves with the help of a team of volunteers.
“The feedback has been unbelievably wonderful,” says Gang. “We are constantly receiving photos from our recipients of children reading books which, like I said, makes it all worth it. It really opened our eyes as to the lack of reading material available to children in the country. If you read the statistics, they’re mind-blowing.”
The nonprofit currently depends on fundraising to manage the expenses from shipping books each month. Gang says they soon want to expand their reach and be able to send books to children around the world without any hesitation.
“We can make a difference. We can make an impact. We just have to try, and sometimes be a little bit crazy,” Gang says, adding that anyone who is looking to donate can do so from their website.
“Hindi empowered those around her: students, friends, colleagues, and family,” she adds. “By using her passion and drive as fuel, together we are putting smiles on the faces of thousands of children throughout the world, by giving them the gift of literacy, and I hope Hindi would be proud of that.”