By JILL RIFKIN
ALBANY — The Capital District will celebrate springtime with a Walkathon and Guided Tour for a most unusual beneficiary – literacy!
Grassroot Givers, a non-profit organization at 274 Washington Ave., whose chief goal is to promote literacy and book ownership, is joining forces with Albany Tulip Queen Adaviah Ward and her court, whose yearlong objective is also to encourage reading, to stage the event.
The two-mile Walkathon will be held on Saturday, April 29. Participants, who collect pledges ahead of time, will meet at Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (Toast), an Albany elementary school at 94 Delaware Ave. They will then walk to several of the numerous Little Free Libraries, small structures stocked with donated books and built by Grassroot Givers in front of many Albany public schools. Books are free for all to take home.
Grassroot Givers took over part of the closed downtown Albany YMCA in 2011 and transformed the space into a gigantic, brightly colored and comfortable free library filled with thousands of top quality books available for residents of all ages to take home and to keep. Many can’t afford to purchase books for their homes, which adversely impacts children’s success in school. Co-director Mary Partridge-Brown remarked, “Children proudly skip out of our library with books in the hands, knowing they can come to take home even more.” Often, these are the first books they’ve ever owned, and they read them over and over again.”
Grassroot Givers also staffs a free Community Store stocked with beautiful new or near-new clothing and small household items. Partnering with over 50 non-profit organizations, the store provide these and other basic necessities to individuals and families living on a fixed income, transitioning out of shelters, or participating in other supportive programs. Co-director and founder Roberta Sandler said, “We began this organization with a simple idea: sharing resources in a dignified way. That concept is reflected in everything we do, from the upscale community store to the next-to-new hardback books displayed on the shelves.”
The organization recently reached a long desired milestone: the donation of its 10,000th book. Partridge-Brown and Sandler hope to double that number to 20,000 by the end of 2017. All proceeds from the Walkathon will benefit Grassroot Givers’ programs, all of which help to empower residents of the Capital District.
Meeting and registration: Saturday, April 29, Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology parking lot, 94 Delaware Ave. Registration begins at 10 a.m.; Registration starts at 11 a.m. Distance: approximately two miles.
Pledges: $5 per mile for each of the two miles. $35 flat pledge for the total walk. Participant who raises the most money in pledges wins a $50 gift certificate from I Love Books in Delmar. Contact [email protected] or (518) 542-1276 for information.