Last fall, Lucilla Girotto came up with a pitch to the Campbell River Community Foundation’s Small Neighbourhood Grant program that would see her buy up a bunch of used books from the museum and distribute them – along with some special gifts – to people in the community.
It was her way of helping during a difficult time of people feeling secluded, disconnected and alone.
And people took her up on her offer.
“I aimed to do 40 boxes and thought, ‘well, let’s just see how it goes,’” Girotto says. “I ended up doing 44. People really loved the idea and had a few extra dollars to put together a few more. I didn’t count the books, though,” she adds with a laugh. “I guess most of them had two, but there were families that had more kids, and they got more, obviously. I think a couple had maybe 10 books.”
And because it went so well, the foundation has approved her application and will fund another round of the boxes this spring.
Things will be slightly different this time around, Girotto says, but the premise is the same: people will contact her saying they are interested in receiving a box, they’ll have a discussion about the number of people in the household, their reading preferences in terms of genres and topics, she’ll go “shopping” in the Museum at Campbell River’s collection, and the box will be put together to be picked up.
Last time, since it was creeping up on the Christmas season, Girotto also added little treats like chocolates and candies to the packages. This time, however, she’s come up with a different idea.
“This time I wanted to do more of a crafty thing,” she says. “So this time there will be a little package with craft supplies and instructions and templates for people to make their own bookmarks. And last time I did little greeting cards, writing them myself. This time I contacted the English teacher at my son’s school and asked her if the kids could build those little cards, and she said yes. So this time those little cards will be written by the kids at École Mer-et-montagne, which will be super cute.”
Girotto hopes this round of “book care boxes” will be just as successful as the last one.
“When the people contacted me last time, they were just so grateful that they could have some new books,” she says. “Because the museum sale was not running – and with all the COVID restrictions I’m not sure if they’re going to be able to do it this year, either – people really missed that.”
You can contact Girotto at the email address she had custom made just for the project, which is email@example.com to get the conversation started about what kind of reading material you’d like to receive.