On his 29th birthday, Dave Arsenault and his company Tops to Floors, donated $29,000 to the PEI Literacy Alliance’s campaign: Inspire a Love of Reading This Holiday Season.
The PEI Literacy Alliance launched this fundraising campaign in October to bring free books to 4000 children under the age of 5 in PEI. To reach this goal, they need to raise an additional $150,000 by the end of December 2020.
The Alliance timed their campaign to overlap with #GivingTuesday (December 1) – a global movement for charitable giving that uses social media. It is a time when charities, companies and individuals unite to bring about real change at the community level.
The Alliance is thrilled to receive such a generous donation at the start of its campaign.
When Dave was asked why he donated such a significant amount, he replied:
“When children grow up, they’ll be deciding which stories they tell themselves, and which truths they seek. The PEI Literacy Alliance inspires our youth to learn the skills necessary to do this consciously and effectively in an ever-changing, information over-loading world.
The importance of reading runs so deep in the positive human experience. Reading and learning become synonymous with thinking, challenging ideas, forming opinions, being resourceful, being respectful, finding truths, identifying issues, finding solutions, and being courageous enough to act positively. That’s the power of reading, learning, thinking; It’s incredible.
If we can help children develop a love for reading and learning, the net benefit to our society is off the charts. I am just so happy to be fortunate enough to have the means to give back.”
All money raised through this campaign, which ends December 31, 2020, will stay in PEI and go toward registering children for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program for the next three years. This program gives children under the age of 5 a high-quality book each month in the mail, free of charge to parents.
A $50 donation will give one child free books for a year. $150 donation will give that same child free books for three years.
The Imagination Library in PEI now serves 3000 children with project funding from the Province of PEI; the Rotary Clubs of Charlottetown, Charlottetown Royalty, Montague & Eastern PEI; and the Rotary Literacy Foundation.
But the need is great. The Alliance opened registration for the first time on Oct 1, 2020. In less than 12 hours, more than 2000 children were registered, and another 2000 parents filled out an online form to say they wanted to sign up when more funds were secured.
The money raised during this campaign will go toward registering an additional 1000 children with a focus on reaching vulnerable families. The Alliance is partnering with food banks across PEI to reach families in need.
“Books are a luxury many cannot afford,”
says Mike MacDonald, Manager of the Charlottetown Food Bank. “We are excited to partner with the Alliance to better serve our clients.”
With Dave’s donation, the Alliance will be able to include registration information for the Imagination Library program in the Upper Room Food Bank’s Christmas Hampers serving about 200 children under the age of 5. In early 2021, the Alliance will work with additional partners to reach vulnerable families from tip to tip.
“Research shows that having books in the home is one of the best ways to build literacy skills for life. Yet, 25% of homes do not have a single book in them. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library project is a simple yet brilliant and cost-effective way to address this issue,”
says Nathan Steeves, Chair of the PEI Literacy Alliance.
To donate and receive a charitable tax receipt, please visit www.peiliteracy.ca/donate.