Reading up, Port Colborne Optimists book giveaway a success

Group planning a second giveaway in September

Port Colborne Leader

Luke Edwards

Jaden Spencer could hardly tear his eyes away from his newest book long enough to pose for a picture. The six-year-old was just one of more than 120 kids to add to their library on Saturday, thanks to the Port Colborne Optimists Club book giveaway, held at the Village Hall Sanctuary on Elm Street. All the children’s books were provided by First Book Canada, a non-profit organization focused on providing equal opportunities for quality education.

“These books are amazing, they’re great books,” said Janet Pilon, president of the Port Colborne Optimists.

All brand new and many hard cover, kids could come a pick out a few they liked. Traditionally the Optimists would go into schools and let children look through the tables of books, but with the uncertainty of COVID-19, they switched it up this year and held the weekend giveaway.

Aubrey Foley, of the Broke Spoke Bike Program, was also on hand for part of the day, handing out bike gear.

“They went home with bikes and books,” said Pilon.

Pilon said it’s important to get kids excited about reading, especially at a younger age. She said she’s thrilled when she sees a kid’s eyes light up when the Optimists are able to provide them with the latest book in a series, or something they weren’t able to find anywhere else.

And it was so successful Pilon and the Optimists decided on the spot to hold another. Back at the Village Hall Sanctuary, the Optimists will be giving away books between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 19. Kids from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 will be able to find something to their liking, though even kids older than that may be able to go home with a new favourite book.

Luke Edwards is a reporter for Niagara this Week, covering north Niagara, and editor for Niagara Farmers’ Monthly. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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