'Heap the Honda' book drive kicks off in Kamloops

By Adam Donnelly
January 8, 2017 - 2:44pm Updated: January 9, 2017 - 12:14pm

KAMLOOPS — Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials to help interpret the world around us. Shockingly, more than 40 per cent of Canadians have low literacy skills, meaning they face a significant disadvantage when it comes to understanding the information presented to them in their daily lives. Here in Kamloops, there are several organizations working to help promote literacy skills in children, including Literacy in Kamloops and Kamloops Early Language and Literacy Initiative.

If you’re an avid reader as an adult, it’s likely you spent a lot of time as a kid sitting with a family member, or friend, and sharing a good story.

Saturday was the official kickoff of the eighth annual ‘Heap the Honda’ campaign; a children’s book drive organized by Literacy in Kamloops, and the Kamloops Early Language and Literacy Initiative.

“Being literate is having the skills to understand the information that is presented to us everyday,” Fiona Clare of Literacy in Kamloops told those gathered for the kickoff event, adding “and to actually use that information to participate fully in life’s many opportunities.”

Since 2009, ‘Heap the Honda’ has collected over 75,000 new and gently used books for children across the city. For Faith Bailey, retired School District 73 librarian and LINK Volunteer Coordinator, it’s entirely possible she’s touched nearly every single one of those books.

“I sort them, and decide… [if] they’ll have to be recycled, [or] need to be sent to a daycare because they’re not what we want, so I sort, and then have crews come in and they clean and sticker [each book],” Bailey explained. “I couldn’t do it without my crews, believe me.”

Once those books are collected and cleaned, they wind up on one of 22 Bright Red Bookshelves throughout Kamloops, free for any child to borrow.

“One of the things I love about what Fiona and her team do is that they make these books available to all families,” Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone told CFJC Today. “When you’re done with a book, it doesn’t mean that book’s life is over. If you take it off that shelf at home… and you donate it, that book can be read over and over and over again, and enjoyed by countless other children.”

‘Heap the Honda’ runs for three weeks, until January 28, so there’s plenty of opportunity to donate. You can drop books off at Kamloops Honda, the Henry Grube Centre, at both TNRD libraries in the city, at the Blazers game on January 20, and at any of the 22 Bright Red Bookshelf locations throughout town.

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