Terry Hathaway spent weeks collecting donated children’s books from generous donors around Williams Lake after the wildfires hit, and wiped out the homes of so many young families.
Now, she’s trying to get the books to as many people in need as possible this holiday season with a free book fair on Dec. 9.
After being inspired by one of her tutoring students, Josef Aschwanden, who had just discovered a love of reading when he lost his home and all his books to fire, she collected hundreds of children’s books in the fall of this year.
With help from friends and family, Hathaway sorted the books into categories, made sure they were all in good shape and then finally, welcomed families to come replenish their own family libraries. She invited them to stop by Youth for Christ, who donated some space for her to set up a mini-library, on a one by one basis.
The Aschwanden family was the first to have the honour, as Josef was the inspiration for the whole project. He showed up to pick out his new books with three family members in tow and a huge smile on his face. After finding a book of sports jokes, he practiced his reading aloud and had everyone in the room cracking up.
The idea, as Hathaway put it, was to have families come in to pick up their books one at a time.
“I really like the idea of having families coming on their own just for emotional reasons,” she said.
“You know, they might find a book that they lost and it might bring back a lot of memories and emotions and [I want] them to be able to get through that together as a family.”
However, since Josef went home with a bag full of books in October, Hathaway has only had one other family request an appointment to replenish their reading material.
“I have put out invites through the CRD, schools, churches, Facebook, and word of mouth,” she added.
So, in order to reach a larger group of children in need, Hathaway is hosting a free book fair. She wants to encourage families who have lost everything in the wildfires to come to the event. She urges those who know such families to extend personal invitations.
On Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. families can come take advantage of the plethora of free books for children aged 0-18. There really is something for every child hidden in the many boxes of reading material. It is a great way to bring some Christmas joy into the lives of children.
For more information, you can visit the Free Book Fair Facebook Page or contact Terry Hathaway at 250-398-9180.