I sorted my children’s books, making room for new books and a pile of presents for the stories they came out of. I always get a little sentimental when I look at their stuff, especially the beloved books and favorite toys and outfits, because it reminds me of how much they grow and change. Yet I try not to get attached to objects.
I am giving our pile of used books to my friend Ally Beauchesne for an online book sale that she will be holding after Halloween. This is the second year that she has made the sale in order to raise funds to make Christmas baskets for families in need.
The books will be organized, numbered and published on his Facebook and Instagram accounts for everyone to buy. Children’s books will cost $ 1 and adult books will cost $ 3. Proceeds will be used to purchase gifts and perishable items for baskets Ally will set up for families she has been matched with by Inspire Community Outreach.
She doesn’t know how much money she will make or even how many books she will end up having to sell. Last year, she appealed to her friends on social media and in her local gift group, asking if anyone had any books they would like to donate. People, many of whom were foreigners, gathered behind her, donating books and spreading the word about the donation campaign and the sale. Her mother did a great purge of her own shelf, dropping boxes on boxes in Ally’s house.
“I wondered what is the worst that could happen? If that fails I will just donate the books to the community somehow,” Ally said, adding that she had the idea. from a friend who raised $ 1,500 for Manitoba Harvest in a book sale last year.
He didn’t flop. On the contrary, the book collection and sale far exceeded his expectations.
“It just exploded. So many people reached out to donate books … There were books all over my house, and there was no room for anything.” Ally said with a laugh, adding that her husband, Josh Lisoway, had been instrumental in moving, sorting and stacking boxes of books in their house last year. They both spent hours sorting and browsing piles and donation boxes, but he did all the heavy lifting because she was pregnant with their second daughter.
“I couldn’t have done this without him.”
Last year’s book sale brought in nearly $ 1,400, which was enough to complete each of the seven baskets with perishable food and an additional $ 25 Sobeys gift card for each family. Some people didn’t buy books and just donated money, Ally said. All children’s books sold. She said people have gone crazy for them. Lots of adult books sold too, and those that weren’t were used to stock the small free libraries in the Ally neighborhood.
It was a victory for everyone.
The reasons why Ally sells books online and makes the baskets are simple. She wants to make a difference. She is humble when she explains why she is devoting so much time and energy to this project. It minimizes the hours of time and the amount of energy and mental capacity it takes. She gets a lot from it.
âChristmas is so special,â Ally said. “My mom always made sure everyone had a good Christmasâ¦ She made sure the day was meaningful for everyone.”
Ally does the same for others: to do magic and offer baskets and the peace of mind that comes with them to people who might need a little help. She has partnered with Inspire Community Outreach again this year and hopes to make 10 baskets for families in need. She plans to have her book sale online on the weekend of November 6-7, posting the books on her Facebook page in a public album, as well as on her Instagram Stories.
If you’d like to find out about the sale or have any books to donate, you can follow her on Instagram at @allybeauchesne or search for her on Facebook.
Columnist, responsible for the Reader Bridge project
Shelley Cook is a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press and manages the newspaper’s Reader Bridge Project, which seeks to expand coverage of underserved communities.
Read the full biography