When grabbing your money coffee Wednesday morning, bring along some extra cash to help raise literacy levels.
Sept. 19 marks Raise a Reader Day in Prince George, and about 100 orange-clad volunteers will be selling special editions of the Prince George Citizen for donations to local literacy causes.
Between 7 and 9 a.m. newspapers can be purchased at the city's Tim Hortons and Starbucks (except Spruceland) locations, at McDonald's on 15th Avenue, College of New Caledonia, UNBC, the HSBC building, the corner of Sixth Avenue and Victoria Street and the University Hospital of Northern B.C.
Since the Citizen began participating in Raise a Reader day six years ago, $180,000 has been raised locally. Money raised on the streets on Wednesday will be supplemented by sponsorship funds as well as government contributions.
This year's sponsors are Assante Wealth Management, McDonald's, the Nechako Rotary Club, Integris Credit Union, the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, UNBC and the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.
In addition to volunteers from the organizing and sponsor groups, supporters can also purchase papers from Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, members of the Prince George Cougars hockey team and Prince George mayor Shari Green and her council colleagues.
Citizen circulation manager Alan Ramsay, who has spearheaded the local campaign since it came to town in 2007, said the grassroots nature of the fundraiser is appealing. "Literacy is important at so many levels," he said.
It's especially important at the early childhood stage of development, said Prince George Public Library head Allan Wilson.
"The nice thing is it directly says I'm raising a reader and the really nice thing about the brand is when you say you're raising a reader they know that early childhood literacy is the most important thing," said Wilson. "We know that if you start reading to kids from ages five to seven, you're going to raise their IQ."
This year, the library has partnered with the Citizen for the Raise a Reader campaign.
"It's a natural fit," Ramsay said, who found a partner in story time in library communications co-ordinator Andrea Palmer. "They have a better idea of where the money is best suited."
This year, groups applying for grants for literacy initiatives will do so through the library.
Wilson said he would like to see the group of applicants expand to include programming from the regional areas and more aboriginal groups.
Ramsay said no donation is too small for the cause and encouraged people to take the opportunity to relieve themselves of their soon-to-be-obselete one-cent coins.
"If people want to get rid of their pennies, bring 'em," he said. "Prince George has always been a great supporter and happy to give back."