CORNER BROOK As Shawn Bradbury and his family started packing to move from one home to another, they discovered they had a lot of stuff.
Among that stuff was a multitude of books at toys that Shawn and wife Paula’s two children, Ryan, 17, and Rachel, 12, had been accumulating since they were babies.
Shawn said he doesn’t know why the family kept the books and toys for so long.
“Over the years they’ve wanted to hang on to many of their things,” he said. “But I guess they’re starting to think differently as they’re getting older, more mature.”
So the family talked it over and the kids came up with the idea to donate the items.
Shawn said they could have held a yard sale, but “we thought it would be more value to donate it and see that others get benefit from it.”
He thinks it was Paula’s suggestion to give the items to the WestRock Community Centre. Paula is a special education teacher and has done outreach work with the centre.
As the family went through the toys and books getting them ready to donate, Ryan said he wasn’t surprised at how much they had collected.
But Rachel added an emphatic, “I was.”
And neither of them had any reservations about giving away their stuff.
“It feels good to help out,” said Ryan.
“It feels really good to share my toys with other people,” added Rachel. “I didn’t want to just keep it for myself, because I don’t really need it.”
The family dropped off between 300 and 400 books last week and two car loads of toys on Thursday.
As she looked at the toys piled on the floor at the centre Rachel said all the toys were well enjoyed.
Shawn said seeing the reaction and excitement of the kids from the centre as they delivered the books and toys made making the donation easier and worthwhile.
Stacey Knight can attest that the generosity of the family has been much appreciated at the centre. Knight is the site co-ordinator for the Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council’s Summer Reading for Fun program, which is located at WestRock.
When the family first called the centre about all the books the call was directed to the Summer Reading for Fun office, and Knight said they readily accepted the offer.
“I was expecting maybe a box or two,” said Knight who was overwhelmed by the five milk crates full that were dropped off.
Knight talked with staff at the community centre about what to do with all the books and together it was decided that it would be a good opportunity for children in the centre’s summer recreation program and the Laubach Summer Reading for Fun program to take the books home. There are 37 kids in the recreation program and 20 of them are also in the reading program.
Late last week, a mini book fair was held at the centre. All the books were given away for free and the children all got to select five or six books each.
Knight said the kids were really excited about the fair and kept asking when could they take the books.
“It’s really encouraging, cause reading is really not big these days,” said Knight. “A lot of kids even in the city aren’t encouraged or motivated to read. So it was really nice to see that they wanted to take them and they were excited about it.”
Some of the books also went to the summer recreation programs run by WestRock in the Carter Avenue and Hendon Drive areas.
On Thursday afternoon Knight and others at the centre were busy sorting through all the toys that had been dropped off earlier in the day. She said the plan is to hold a toy fair to give the children in the area a chance to drop by and pick some toys.
Like the book fair, there will be no charge for the toys. The toy fair will be promoted through WestRock’s Facebook page and Twitter account.