Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune The Table Rock Kiwanis Club in Central Point is donating to the Books 4 Kids campaign for this celebration.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune The club has distributed over 30,000 pounds since 2009, but this year donations have been the lowest yet.
Kiwanis Club’s annual holiday fundraising donations lag behind as event returns after COVID
CENTRAL POINT – Table Rock Kiwanis Club feels like it wouldn’t mind a bit of luck before the holidays this year.
Last year, 12 years after the launch of “Books 4 Kids” and the distribution of new and lightly used books at Central Point Community Christmas for the first time, the event was canceled due to pandemic restrictions.
The club have distributed over 30,000 books since 2009, but this year – at unlucky number 13 – donations have been the smallest to date.
Jerry MacLeod, a club member for more than a quarter of a century, said the ongoing pandemic and the loss of the club’s book bins inside Albertsons grocery stores had contributed to the decline in book supplies.
A retired fish biologist, MacLeod founded the book competition in 2009, believing that local families had lots of books hidden in their garages and attics.
Even taking time off last year, MacLeod and Kiwanis president Pam Bock said the club was scrambling to collect enough books in time for community Christmas events on December 4.
MacLeod said club members scoured personal collections and ventured into garage sales in search of new and lightly used books, hoping to fill the void.
âThere is a little hollow. We had always been pretty lucky with our collection box at Albertsons, but the powers that were decided on we couldn’t have them in there anymore, âMacLeod said.
âWe now have bins in various places, so we put books in there, but not as many as before. We will continue to try to have enough.
Bock said she hopes club members come together – the club has merged in the past year with Jacksonville and Medford, which means more volunteer efforts – and that the community grows dramatically.
“In all of our years since we started, this is the first time that we have organized a book drive and we hurry to make sure we have enough books that we don’t feel like we have to worry,” she declared.
âBobbio bought some books for our ride which is amazing and the Central Point Library made a few this week. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed. “
Bock said the club had between 400 and 500 pounds, down from the usual low of 1,500. Bock said the Cub Scout Troop 50, chartered by the Kiwanis, was helping to collect books, in addition to various drop-off locations.
“It will be what it is, but we are confident the community will come out of it,” she added.
MacLeod said he looks forward to doing his annual task of cleaning up donated books and applying a sticker identifying the book as a gift from the local Kiwanis.
“It’s fun to see as the years go by we will pick up some of them (with the sticker inside), where the kids have read them and want to try something else or they returned them because they got too big, MacLeod said.
âWe just take them back and put them back on the table and start all over again. It’s a fun project and we’ve given out tens of thousands of books over the years.
How to help
Book donations can be made at any of Central Point’s eight shopping locations, including Bobbio’s Pizza, Central Point Chamber, Central Point Library, and Fidelity Quick Print.
For a complete list or to donate to purchase books, visit online at k13188.site.kiwanis.org or facebook.com/Table-Rock-Kiwanis-Club-337269389968691
For more information on the Community Christmas event, see centralpointoregon.gov/parksrec/page/community-christmas