COVID-19 or no COVID-19, there was no keeping Peninsula book lovers from their books, club media representative George Garrett said.
He added that the enthusiasm with which White Rock and South Surrey residents responded to the Aug. 27 to Sept. 1 sale at the Peace Arch Curling Club rink in Centennial Park is one of the reasons the latest event made a record $75,000.
Another reason, Garrett said, is that the club had accumulated a backlog of some 50,000 donated books over the 18-month period since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – a time when the club would normally have held three sales, not just the small scale event at the Rotary Field House in August of 2020.
When the dust had cleared on the six-day event, more than 43,000 books had been sold to 3,200 customers, Garrett said.
Book sale manager Keith Becker said there was obviously a pent-up demand for the return of the popular four decades-old event.
“People were excited about this sale,” he said. “There was a line-up stretching down the length of the curling rink at the opening.”
The successful sale was also managed according to COVID protocols, Garrett said.
“Some people had to be held back for a few minutes to make sure attendance remained within (stipulated) limits,” he said.
“Greeters used hand-held clickers to count those going in and those going out, always maintaining a safe margin to prevent going over the limit.”
Becker, and Rotary Club of White Rock president Gordy Sangha, had praise for “a great team” – which included promotion manager Kristina Eng, warehouse manager Bill Haymond and volunteer co-ordinator Anthony Manning.
“Rotarians and volunteers worked tirelessly and relentlessly to make the book sale such a great success,” Sangha said, while also thanking residents of White Rock and South Surrey for their loyal support.
The funds raised by the book sale and other events are used to support important community projects, Garrett noted.
In the past this has included major contributions to the White Rock Playhouse Theatre, the Centre for Active Living (which includes the curling rink) and Sources Women’s Place Resource Centre, Garrett said.
Current projects for the club include funding for the White Rock Fire Department for special equipment, and support for the Festival of Lights project on the waterfront again this Christmas, an initiative Sangha sees as a ‘path to peace’, reaching out to the South Surrey and White Rock’s Indigenous neighbours.
And Becker says plans are already being made for the next book sale, which will take place just before Christmas.
Donations of books are welcome and may be placed in the blue collection bin at the Rotary Field House at 2197 148 St.