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Now read this: Books Needed

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune The Table Rock Kiwanis Club of Central Point is organizing donations to the “Books 4 Kids” drive this holiday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune The club has distributed more than 30,000 books since 2009, but this year donations have been the lowest to date.
Annual Kiwanis Club holiday drive donations lag as event returns post-COVID

CENTRAL POINT — The Table Rock Kiwanis Club is feeling like it wouldn’t mind a little change of luck prior to the holidays this year.

Last year, 12 years since it launched “Books 4 Kids” and handed out new and gently used books at the Central Point Community Christmas for the first time, the event was canceled due to pandemic restrictions.

The club has distributed more than 30,000 books since 2009, but this year — in unlucky number 13 — donations have been the fewest to date.

Jerry MacLeod, a club member for more than a quarter-century, said the ongoing pandemic and the loss of the club’s book bins inside Albertsons grocery stores had contributed to the drop in book supplies.

A retired fish biologist, MacLeod founded the book giveaway in 2009, figuring local families had plenty of books stashed in their garages and attics.

Even taking last year off, MacLeod and Kiwanis President Pam Bock said the club was scrambling to collect enough books in time for Community Christmas events Dec. 4.

MacLeod said club members scour personal collections and venture to yard sales for new and gently used books, hoping to fill the gap.

“There’s bit a bit of a slump. We’d always had pretty good luck with our collection box at Albertsons but the powers that be decided we couldn’t have those in there anymore,” MacLeod said.

“We’ve got bins in various locations now so we’re getting some books in, just not as many as before. We’re gonna keep going to try and get enough.”

Bock said she was hopeful club members would rally — the club merged over the past year with Jacksonville and Medford, meaning more volunteer effort — and that the community would step up in a big way.

“In all our years since we started, this is the first time we have ever done a book drive and been hurrying to make sure we would have enough books to not feel like we would have to be worried,” she said.

“Bobbio’s purchased some books for our drive, which is amazing, and the Central Point library had quite a few donated this week. We are just crossing our fingers.”

Bock said the club has between 400 and 500 books, compared to the usual 1,500 minimum. Bock said Cub Scout Troop 50, chartered by the Kiwanis, was helping to round up books, in addition to various drop-off locations.

“It will be what it is, but we have a lot of faith that the community will come through,” she added.

MacLeod said he was eager to do his annual task of cleaning donated books and applying a sticker identifying the book as a gift from the local Kiwanis.

“It’s fun to see over the years, we’ll actually get some of them back (with the sticker inside), where kids have read them and want to try something else or they’ve donated them back as they’ve outgrown them,” MacLeod said.

“We just take them back and put them on the table again and start them all over. It’s been a fun project, and we’ve given away tens of thousands of books over the years.”

How to help

Donations of books can be made at any of eight Central Point business locations, including Bobbio’s Pizza, Central Point Chamber, Central Point library and Fidelity Quick Print.

For a complete list, or to donate toward the purchase of books, visit online at k13188.site.kiwanis.org or facebook.com/Table-Rock-Kiwanis-Club-337269389968691

For Community Christmas event information, see centralpointoregon.gov/parksrec/page/community-christmas