The Kemptville Youth Centre (KYC) is going ahead with their annual Book Fair and is looking for donations. President of the KYC Board, Bruce Wehlau, says they decided to plough ahead with the event this year, because it is not only their flagship fundraiser, but an institution in the community. Many North Grenville residents count on the Fair for their supply of books for the year, and the event usually draws over 1,000 people over the three days.

Bruce also says that, if they were to forgo the fundraising dollars from the Book Fair, it would put a serious strain on KYC’s finances. As its main fundraiser, the Book Fair typically raises $12,000 to $13,000 to help pay for the Centre’s operating costs. “If we lost that, it would be a huge dent in our finances for the year,” Bruce says.

Many of their other fundraisers, including their annual pancake breakfast, had to be cancelled this year because of COVID-19. KYC has relied on their reserves, government funding, and support from the United Way to keep the Centre going over the past few months. “If it wasn’t for the United Way, it would have been a big problem,” Bruce says.

With the support they received, KYC was able to keep some online programming going after they had to close their doors in March. They were pleasantly surprised with how many youth they were able to reach through social media. “It’s amazing the reach we have seen,” Bruce says.

KYC was able to open their doors to youth again a couple weeks ago, but have been limiting the number of people in the building to 15, and making sure that all the health guidelines are followed, including wearing masks and sanitizing heavily used surfaces regularly.

“Yesterday they had a picnic in the park,” Bruce said last Wednesday. “It gets them out of the house and into the fresh air.”

KYC is hoping that the community will step up to the plate this year to both donate and buy books to support KYC. The Book Fair will be held at the Ferguson Forest Centre in a building that can be open to the outside to let the fresh air in. They will be limiting the number of people in the building at any one time to 50, and will be providing hand sanitizer and masks to ensure the safety of shoppers and volunteers. “We are going to observe all the Leeds and Grenville Health Unit guidelines,” Bruce says.

This year is also unique in that they will be selling the Kemptville Campus’ old catalogue of books. A presale will be held specifically for Kemptville College Alumni and the North Grenville Historical Society, after which the books will be available to the general public. Bruce believes it is great for both organizations, as the books will no longer be collecting dust at the Campus, and KYC will be able to use them to raise funds for their operations. “It’s a win-win” he says.

The book collecting started a couple weeks ago, and last week they had already collected between 2,000 and 3,000 books. They are still taking donations at the seed shed behind the main building at the Ferguson Forest Centre on Thursday evenings from 4pm-7pm and Saturday from 8am-12pm. There will be more drop off dates in August, which will be posted on the KYC website.

The KYC book fair is officially set for Friday, August 21 (12pm-8pm), Saturday, August 22 (8am-5pm), and Sunday, August 23 (8am-12pm).

For more information about KYC and their Book Fair, visit www.kyc.team.

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