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Jacob Wheeler: Angel of the Garbage Dump

Jacob Wheeler: Angel of the Garbage Dump

Friday, March 03, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Join us for a discussion with Jacob Wheeler, author of Angel of the Garbage Dump.


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Angel of the Garbage Dump: How Hanley Denning Changed the World, One Child at a Time

Maine-native Hanley Denning saw poverty and desperation in its ugliest form, and refused to turn a blind eye. A former track star at Bowdoin College, Denning was struck by what she saw at the Guatemalan City dump: garbage pickers competing with vultures for the food dumped by trucks, toddlers playing amidst rats. The experience prompted her to, as Mother Teresa said, "find her own Calcutta." Hanley called her family in New England and asked them to sell everything she owned and wire her the money. Then, she launched an educational reinforcement nonprofit called Safe Passage, or "Camino Seguro," and helped pull thousands of children out of one of the largest urban landfills in the Americas. Denning was killed in a car accident outside the Guatemalan capital in 2007, but Safe Passage continues to change countless lives today.

Author Jacob Wheeler fell in love with Guatemala while studying Spanish in Quetzaltenango. His first book, Between Light and Shadow (University of Nebraska Press, 2011), covered Guatemala’s child adoption industry. Wheeler lives in Traverse City, Michigan, with his wife Sarah and children, Nina and Leo. He publishes the Glen Arbor Sun newspaper and works with student journalists at Northwestern Michigan College.