On Saturday, the library held its second annual Fines for Food Day, in which 100 per cent of the late fees collected benefit the Nelson Food Cupboard. Many people held off paying their late charges in order to pay on Fines for Food day. This year, the library cut a cheque for $187.30. It’s a small thing, but it makes us feel good.
The library gives to the community in many other ways: as a safe, welcoming place for individuals, children, seniors, and families; as a source of education, information, and entertainment; as a promoter of literacy; as a community resource for local history; as a reflection of Nelson and area culture.
You’ve been generous, too: by buying copies of our gorgeous fundraising literary cookbook Seasonings: a year of local flavor in words and recipes; with your time as volunteers for events such as Storyteller’s Saloon, and fundraisers such as our twice-yearly Friends of the Library book sale.
This year, Storyteller’s Saloon raised $5,400 to be shared with Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History towards the local history archives of both organizations, and the Friends of the Library group’s hardworking efforts have brought in $5,000.Since its publication in October 2010, sales of Seasonings have raised $15,000. It’s been Christmas every week with donations of books, CDs, and DVDs, and our elves — I mean volunteers — are absolutely wonderful.
We’re all stronger for the give and take of community, in that paying-it-forward kind of way, a notion explored in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book Pay it Forward (F HYD). Most of us know that volunteerism, philanthropy, and our nonprofit organizations are the lifeblood of society, a way to make sure everyone has enough. By giving we learn about kindness; by receiving, gratefulness. We’re bound to be on one side or the other many times before we take our final bow.
We have a nice collection of books on the give and take of things. Top of the heap is A Year of Living Generously: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Philanthropy by Canadian author Lawrence Scanlan (177.7 SCA). The author set out to find out if one person really can make a difference by selecting 12 charities and spending one month in each — uncovering the players and politics, satisfactions and perils, the inspirations and sometimes uncomfortable truths about philanthropic engagement.
From philosophy to practice, we have titles such as The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer (362.5 SIN); Deliberate Acts of Kindness: Service as a Spiritual Practice by Meredith Gould (177.7 GOU); Being Generous: The Art of Right Living by Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa (177.7 VAR); and Generation NGO (at 361.763 GEN), a collection of stories by young people who left the comfort of their homes to help out in war zones and refugee camps — all books that serve to inspire generosity in all of its forms.
On the receiving end for nonprofit groups hoping to benefit the community, we have books such as Fundraising for Dummies by John Mutz (658.152 MUT) for those who self-identify as such; The Zen of Fundraising by Ken Burnett (658.15 BUR) for those wanting to find their fundraising center; and Fundraising Realities by David Lansdowne (658.15 LAN) for those willing to face up to the ironic truth of the sometimes dog-eat-dog world of encouraging philanthropic togetherness.
The bottom line? If there’s a need and you can fill it in some way, do. If you’re in need, someone will be there — and someday, the world unfolding as it should, you’ll be paying it forward.
Anne DeGrace’s column is featured in the Nelson Star every second Friday