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Book Faire turns new page

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 03/15/2018 9:15 AM

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Bethesda Health Care Auxiliary Book Faire chair Phyllis Toews and ROC Eastman Executive Director Moni Loewen are seen at Clearspring Centre on Tuesday sorting through the thousands of books that will be on sale March 21-24 during the Bethesda Health Care Auxiliary Book Faire.

DAVE BAXTER | THE CARILLON Enlarge Image

Bethesda Health Care Auxiliary Book Faire chair Phyllis Toews and ROC Eastman Executive Director Moni Loewen are seen at Clearspring Centre on Tuesday sorting through the thousands of books that will be on sale March 21-24 during the Bethesda Health Care Auxiliary Book Faire.

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When Moni Loewen heard the news that the long-running book faire in Steinbach may be coming to an end, she decided she would see if there was a way she could get involved and help write a new chapter for the event.

"I saw a news article that the auxiliary was shutting down entirely and closing the book faire and it was very sad for me," Loewen said.

"I was always such a big fan of the book faire so I was shocked to hear that. It really is a pillar event in Steinbach and I just didn’t want to see it end."

The Bethesda Health Care Auxiliary Book Faire began in 2003, donating the money raised for the purchase of equipment for Bethesda Hospital.

After the auxiliary announced earlier this year that it will be dissolving after 80 years of service, it appeared that would spell the end for the book faire.

Loewen who is the executive director of ROC Eastman, a not-for-profit organization that works to get children into recreational programs and activities, said she spoke with her board and they agreed there could be an opportunity for the book faire and ROC Eastman to join forces.

Next week’s book faire from March 21-24 will be the final one run by the auxiliary. Future sales will be run by and support ROC Eastman.

Loewen said ROC Eastman will take part in this month’s sale as a way to get an idea for how it works before they begin running the event themselves, and she added she expects a number of volunteers who have worked with the event for years to continue giving their time once they take over.

"They are going to mentor us on how to keep it going and we are going to learn so much," Loewen said.

With last fall’s book faire bringing in more than $35,000, Loewen said the chance to take over the running of the event and bring in money for ROC Eastman is a "very big deal."

"We rely on fundraising and fundraising can be very hard, so because this is an established fundraiser it’s huge for us because we don’t have to build something new from scratch," Loewen said.

Phyllis Toews, the long-time auxiliary chair, said she is thrilled to see the sale continue after she thought it had reached its end.

"We thought we had to stop it, but Moni got involved and now it will keep going and continue to be what it has always been," Toews said.

"I am thrilled because we have been working hard for 15 years and now it will keep going."

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