Cyllene King, of Bend, Oregon, turned to Reader Exchange in July with a simple request for corks, which can be hard to snag in the age of screw-top bottles and rubber stoppers.

Cyllene, who crafts birdhouses with leftover wine corks, had little luck with local wineries, bars and restaurants.

So, Cyllene popped the question to Ruralite readers. Could they help? The answer came swiftly.

By early September, she had received 26,000 corks—enough to make almost 200 birdhouses. Corks poured in from the North Pole to Nevada and everywhere in between.

Cyllene found herself tripping over bins of wine corks, thanks to the generous spirit of so many. She even found herself featured on her local news station. The Ruralite reader response was too good a story to pass up.

“The readers of Ruralite are a very special group of people,” says a grateful Cyllene.

Before the TV story aired, she had already written a thank-you to readers, saying, “Your response has been so incredible that our local news station is doing a human-interest story on community and how we band together. … Thank you all so much! I hate to turn away corks, but if I don’t, I will need a bigger house.”

She loved the notes that came with the special deliveries from readers, including a widow who still saves corks because her late husband made trivets from them. Cyllene sent her a birdhouse.

And, of course, she plans to pay it forward by responding to requests in the Reader Exchange from other readers. And so it goes.