By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
The organizers of the annual 5 for Life book sale fundraiser hope to carry forward the momentum of the event’s previous success with a larger attendance and increased donations – funds that are fuelling literacy programs within the community.
Now in its fifth year, the 5 for Life Community Book Sale mimics the used book sale founded and hosted in collaboration with the Calgary Herald, Crossroads Market and the Servant’s Anonymous Society. While on a smaller scale, 5 for Life Co-Chairperson Christine Kiemeny adopted the fundraising style after she attended the prodigious Calgary-based fundraiser.
In Strathmore, proceeds from the book sale ensure the implementation and continuous support of programs focused on early childhood development within the Town of Strathmore and Wheatland County.
“We’re trying to give them a step up before they reach school, and zero to five are the most crucial years in a person’s life because that’s when most of the brain development is happening,” said Kiemeny.
“We feel that if we can put money into those programs and make people aware of how important it is – don’t plunk your kid down in front of an iPad or TV when you could be talking with them – then it’ll be easier for them down the road.”
Last year the organization extended the sale to two days and increased their profits to $1,500 after $1,000 in expenses was removed. As the event has garnered larger turnouts and donations every year since its inception, this year’s goal aims to double last year’s proceeds.
5 for Life allocated funds to Books for Babies – where new parents receive a brand-new book for their child – in the past. In partnering with the Parent Link Centre and the Strathmore Municipal Library, programs such as the 1,000 Books and Mother Goose in the Park have also received support over the years.
“There is more knowledge of us now as 5 for Life, the group, so when I go and bring boxes the people already know it’s for the book sale. It’s common knowledge now compared to the last couple years where people didn’t know who we were and what we were about,” said Kiemeny.
“It’s becoming more of a known entity around town and people are becoming more familiar with what we stand for and who we help and provide services for.”
With only two weeks to go, the non-profit organization still needs volunteers. A total of 25 to 30 volunteers helped out last year to unload boxes, set up tables, help with clean up, act as cashiers and help out throughout the two-day event.
Donation depots are set up at Home Hardware, the Parent Link Centre, Westmount Elementary School, Wheatland Elementary School, Sacred Heart Academy, Royal Bank of Canada and Valley Dental Clinic. Donations of any genre and age group are accepted including audio books. Not being accepted are DVDs, CDs, magazines, encyclopedias, old health books, textbooks or Readers Digest.
The 5 for Life Community Book Sale takes place on Jan. 26 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Strathmore Civic Centre, and on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All children’s books and soft covers are 50 cents and hard cover books are $1. For more information on where to drop off items or to volunteer, call 403-606-9245 or visit 5forlifeforever.com.