Three New Beneficiaries

The Dayton Book Fair Foundation has chosen three downtown Dayton nonprofit organizations as beneficiaries of the 2019 Dayton Book Fair. This year’s book fair is the the 49th annual fair, the largest used book sale in Ohio and will generate grants of around $10,000 for each recipient.

The three organizations chosen from a large pool of applicants are the Dayton Day of the Dead Festival, the Greater Dayton LGBT Center and Community Action Partners of the Miami Valley.

“We get so many excellent applicants each year,” said foundation director Larkin Vonalt “that it’s a great challenge to just pick three.” The process of choosing beneficiaries takes four to six weeks for the board of seven. “The organizations we chose this year had also applied in previous years,” Vonalt said “and in that light, we strongly encourage organizations to apply more than once.”

The three groups they picked this year all call downtown Dayton home, and range from a tiny nonprofit to an enormous organization with a multi-million dollar budget. “But just because they’re big doesn’t mean that they don’t need help,” Vonalt explained. That beneficiary, Community Action Partners of Miami Valley has been trying for years to build a bus shelter outside their south Main St. offices to provide a safe, dry place for their clients to wait for the bus. Though their budget is considerable, all of it has stipulations attached, and there was nothing extra to build the shelter.”  Community Action Partners is a private non-profit organization that provides assistance with utilities, weatherization, shelter programs, transportation, legal issues, home repair, computer literacy, tax assistance and housing.

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Also chosen to receive a grant this year is the Greater Dayton LGBT Center on Jefferson St. The funding they’ll receive is earmarked for the commercial kitchen they’re building to prepare free community meals they offer, teach cooking classes and meet the requirements for a licensed kitchen to be able to make food items for resale. The LGBT Center also offers support groups, a book club, health testing, holiday gatherings, social events, AA meetings, Yoga classes and seminars in their efforts to “enhance lives and empower members of diverse sexual and gender communities throughout the Miami Valley.”

“The third recipient is the smallest, a group of artists and musicians that for the last seven years have produced (on a shoestring) a marvelous festival and parade celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, one of the most important of Mexican holidays,” Vonalt said.

Though predominantly Mexican, the holiday is also marked in Europe as “All Saints Day” and focuses on gatherings to remember friends and family who have died, and help support their spiritual journey through parties, parades and the making of altars to honor them. This vibrant celebration at the Dayton Day of the Dead Festival begins with a parade through the Oregon district with huge skeleton puppets, floats, revelers in elaborate costumes (and sugar-skull facepaint and wreaths of flowers), musicians, dancers and children. The parade finishes at the Old Yellow Cab company where festivities continue with story telling, folk dancing, music, more face painting and Mexican and South American street food provided by local restaurants and St. Mary’s Church. The festival is free and family-friendly.

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Through the year, the organizations are each asked to provide 40 hours of volunteer service to the Book Fair Foundation and to help with a book drive and promoting the fair. “We hope to build a relationship with each of our beneficiaries,” Vonalt explained. “In the end, we want to try to build a stronger network of Dayton-area non-profits helping each other.”

 

Have a Spare Afternoon?

Interested in Volunteering?  Like ice cream? icecream-1209869_960_720

We’re always eager for new volunteers at our Book Loft, 2181 Embury Park Rd, in Dayton. We’re there Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10 to 3, and Wednesdays from 1 to 7.  Our volunteers range in age from 16 to 93. If you’re a physical type person and want to carry boxes and move pallets, there’s plenty of that to be done. If you’d like to sit quietly with other bibliophiles, pricing and sorting books, well, have we got a chair for you! Interested in learning to sell books online? (Or maybe you already know how to sell books online, and want to give us a hand.) There are magazines to sort, puzzles to price, art prints to shrink-wrap, books of every size, shape and subject to pack.

And everyday at 12:30 we take a break for ice cream. (We go through 4 cartons a week if you’re curious.) There’s even hot fudge and whipped cream if you like. Not to mention a whole fridge and pantry full of a wide variety of snacks.

Many of our volunteers come on a regular schedule, others stop in periodically. It helps if you love books and have a good sense of humor. (And we do have some folks who don’t like ice cream, so if you’re one of those, don’t let that be a deal breaker.) Come on by and meet our all-volunteer staff, have a tour, sit down and stay for awhile.

If you’d like more info, please feel free to call (937.999.4491) or email (info@daytonbookfair.com) or send us a message through this website or our Facebook page.

Volunteer Open House Sunday, August 2

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We could use a hand. Or two. Or twenty. And to that end, we’re hosting our first ever Volunteer Open House on Sunday, August 2nd from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Come on by and see what we’re about.

Volunteers are needed  for both our year-round Book Loft and also to help staff our annual Book Sale, November 13-16 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. We have all kinds of different things for folks to do, and of course, it really helps if you love books. See more about specific opportunities for volunteers by clicking here.

Our hours are flexible, we have some off-site volunteer opportunities, the atmosphere at the loft is, um, bookish, and pleasant, and we provide snacks. Our current volunteers range in age from 20 to 92,  and we are united in our love for books.

We understand that you might be a little shy about just ringing up to volunteer, so we thought we’d have a little party so that potential volunteers could come see how we operate and what it is we do.

We are a 501c3 charity. This year our sale benefits the Human Race Theatre Co, the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, the House of Bread Community Kitchen and the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.

The Open House is at our Loft workshop– 2181 Embury Park Rd, in Dayton. Embury Park runs alongside the Great Miami River, just off of Keowee. If you’re driving north on Keowee– after you cross Stanley and cross the bridge, take your first left. We’re the fourth building on the left. Look for the big red sign. If you’re at the Metro Parks Ranger station, you’ve gone too far. (We’re right next door.)

If you’d like more information, feel free to give us a call. 937.999.4491.

We Priced a Ton of Children’s Books!

A big pile of empty boxes gives a great feeling of accomplishment.
A big pile of empty boxes gives a great feeling of accomplishment.

Well, okay, more like 800 pounds if you want to get technical! But we cleared off a whole skid, left a whole lot of empty boxes and now have many, many carefully priced and packed children’s books in their respective categories of Baby books, picture books, chapter books, and books for teens. There were even enough books in there to fill a box for homeschooling and parenting. We had 12 volunteers today and we’re very grateful for all of their handwork and to Wendy for her wonderful peanut butter pie!

A happy group makes quick work of three pizzas.
A happy group makes quick work of three pizzas.

If you meant to come out and the timing just wasn’t right, don’t despair, we had so much fun today we may well do it again in September sometime. Watch this space for updates.

Pausing for Lunch
Pausing for Lunch