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Shoes of shapes and sizes collected this far. (Submitted photos).
Shoes of shapes and sizes collected this far. (Submitted photos).

Innovative fundraisers at Youngstown Free Library

Sat, Aug 10th 2019 07:00 am

Shoe collections, garage sales, bottle, can collections, chicken BBQ to benefit library

By Terry Duffy


Those neat activities and community offerings found at the Youngstown Free Library just continue to pop up – the latest being some innovative fundraising ventures.

As Youngstown residents have become fully aware, this little – but active – library in the Red Brick Village Center on Lockport Street has been undergoing some trying financial times of late with village budget cutbacks and future uncertainties. But through those dark clouds has come some pretty creative responses among library officials and village interests to address it.

“Fundraising events are important for the library to help us maintain and increase the many programs we offer our community,” said Lauren Morse, a member of Youngstown Library board of trustees. “We have a budget deficit each year due to decreased funding support. (But) if this trend continues and we keep relying on our investment monies (earmarked for capital expenditures) the library in not too many years will be in the ‘red.’ ”

 “There is also a need for a foundation through which benevolent donors would keep the library in the ‘black.’ We are working to create such a foundation.”

In the meantime, she said Youngstown Free Library officials have embarked on fundraisers – intended to assist the library and also benefit the community. One of them is its ongoing “gently worn, new and used shoe drive” that continues to Aug. 31. Morse said the library is accepting donations of all types of footwear – shoes, sneakers, heels, flip-flops and dress shoes for men, women and children. The library is working with a fundraising group called Funds2orgs to make this happen.

“They pay nonprofits for the shoes (40 cents per pound), and they ship them to developing nations for small business entrepreneurs, who repair, clean and sell the shoes,” Morse said.

Thus far, she said the library has collected about 1,000 pairs of shoes from its bins located at the Red Brick and at Tom Tower’s Farm Market at 759 Lockport Road.

“We have a goal of about 2,500 – so we are almost halfway there,” Morse said.

She noted this drive continues until the end of this month, and encouraged the community to support the cause.

Another fundraiser is the Youngstown Lions Club’s garage sale and hot dog sale, set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Red Brick.

“The Lions are selling hot dogs and burgers to benefit their organization, as well as hosting an eyeglass and hearing aid collection,” Morse said.

That day, the library will pair together with the Lions for a garage sale, bake sale and bottle/can collection. And helping out will be Doug Adamson from the Porter Empty Return Center.

“All bottles and cans taken (at this event) and credited to the library’s account go completely toward the library. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the library from these, so the full deposit goes there,” Morse said.

And yet another upcoming event to benefit library operations is a chicken barbecue, set for Sunday, Oct. 6, at Bandana’s Bar and Grill on Lake Road.

“They will be making delicious chicken dinners that can be picked up at the ‘drive-thru’ at Bandanas, or guests can feel free to say and watch the football game while they enjoy their chicken dinner,” Morse said.

Tickets will be $10 presale available at the library, or $12 at the door. Morse encouraged all to “save the date” and come out to support the library and its programs.

Still one more is a tire collection drive where local residents can drop off their unwanted tires (not rims) for $5 each. The collection is planned for the end of September with a date to be announced.

Morse, Director Sonora Miller and the board of trustees encouraged readers to support the Youngstown Free Library and its programs.

“(You see) the library is really a unique space, because it is all encompassing,” Morse said. “It supports the entire community and has to reach each and every individual in it. We are very happy to be able to provide these unique fundraising events where we not only create funding for our programming, but also provide valuable services to our community. That is what the library is all about.”

For more information on the library and its fundraisers, call 716-745-3555 or visit www.youngstownfreelibrary.org.

Librarian Marlene Wessel at the Red Brick shoe collection box.

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