Port Colborne Optimist Club teams up with First Book Canada for giveaway

Port Colborne Leader

James Culic

If this were a normal year, the Port Colborne Optimist Club would be kicking off the school year by bringing hundreds of brand new books to local schools.

“That moment when we tell the kids the books are completely free, it’s just the best, their eyes go big and they are so excited,” said Janet Pilon, president of the local Optimist club. “But of course we can’t go to the schools this year, so we decided to do this instead.”

With the schools off limits due to the virus, The Village Hall Sanctuary was used as home base on Saturday as more than 100 children came through to pick up brand new books, completely free of charge.

The books come from publisher overstock, which are handed over to a company called First Book Canada. The books must be given away for free, and can only be handed out in communities which meet a specific threshold for having a high number of low-income families.

This year’s shipment also came with a fun surprise, a huge load of Pokemon toys.

“There’s always this extra shipment of goodies with the books, they never tell us what it is, it’s a surprise, and we were really excited when we opened it this year to find all this Pokemon stuff, the kids really love it,” said Pilon, who added that she looks forward to the free book giveaway every year. “Of all the things we do in the community, this is one of the best.”

James Culic is an Ottawa ex-pat, reporting the news around Niagara’s southern tier. He also writes a weekly opinion column which people seem to love to hate-read. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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