More than $11,000 has been raised for local children's literacy projects through the 2013 Raise a Reader campaign.
About 120 orange-clad volunteers hit the streets Wednesday morning between 7 and 9 to trade special editions of the Prince George Citizen for more than $4,800 in cash donations. Sponsors kicked in another $6,600.
This year's sponsors were Integris Credit Union, the Nechako Rotary Club, McDonalds, Telus, Friends of the Library, UNBC, CNC, the Native Friendship Centre and 101.3 The River and 99.3 The Drive.
"We just want to thank all the volunteers for their efforts on a chilly morning, braving the cold weather," said Citizen circulation manager Alan Ramsay.
Volunteers - including members of city council and the Prince George Cougars - were stationed across the city at McDonalds, Starbucks, Second Cup, A&W, UNBC, CNC, the Hart Highway Tim Hortons, Northern Health, UHNBC and White Spot.
The people of Prince George have really stepped up to support the event, Ramsay said. "It's nice when they recognize the orange shirts. [Donors] see you and start waving their money."
Prinice George Public Library communications co-ordinator Andrea Palmer, who helps lead the Raise A Reader program for the Prince George Public Library, said one of the best donation drops of the morning was made at the A&W on Fifth Avenue.
"A bus pulled over and [the driver] said 'quick, quick I want one too. I've got money to give.' Our volunteers ran over, they got a donation from the bus driver, handed him his paper," she said. "And I promise, to anybody waiting at a bus stop, the whole transaction took less than 15 seconds."
Ramsay said based on previous years, organizers are hoping for at least another $5,000 to come from the provincial government, which would put the total funds to more than $16,000.
All of the money raised is used for local groups and projects, which will be distributed by the library.
Interest in this year's funding is already strong, said Palmer.
"A huge difference this year is people have already been calling to apply for funds. And we didn't even fundraise until [Wednesday] morning," said Palmer. "It seems to be there's an even greater need for literacy funds for children in our city right now."
Applications will be available from the library by Oct. 5. Palmer said they want to focus on helping out groups for whom a little bit of funding can go a long way.
"What we see Raise A Reader as really filling a niche for in this community is trying to support a greater number of children's literacy initiatives that maybe don't need as large a dollar amount," Palmer said. Some of the smaller, perhaps volunteer-run groups may not be eligible for grant applications and the Raise A Reader funds could fulfill their entire ask.
"And the grant application process is often focused on greater projects that really have more infrastructure and huge outreach," Palmer said. "Whereas if we have a small literacy group that wants a reading rug for children at circle time that's the kind of group we can support 100 per cent and help them facilitate those grassroots efforts at work being done reading to children."
In previous years, Raise A Reader funds have gone to programs led by YMCA, School District 57, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, UNBC and Big Brother Big Sisters.