$30,000 donation to literacy campaign honours son, granddaughter

A Victoria father says he donated $30,000 to the Times Colonist Literacy Society to honour both his late son and his nearly two-year-old granddaughter, who recently visited.

It was an easy decision to make, he said Thursday, because he loves words and books.

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“I got that from my mom’s side of the family,” he said.

Originally from Toronto, the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, read a Times Colonist story about the newspaper’s fundraising campaign, held in lieu of the hugely popular book drive and sale. The book drive, which started in 1998, had to be cancelled this year because of COVID-19.

Determined to continue supporting school libraries and literacy organizations, the Literacy Society has so far raised more than $100,000 and is continuing to accept donations.

The more money that’s donated, the more that will come in from Decoda Literacy Solutions, which distributes money from the provincial government.

The man made an initial donation of $5,000 in memory of his son, who had been planning to attend film school.

His other son struggled with reading when young. The boy’s mother moved quickly to line up help from a teacher who specialized in working with children with reading challenges. Those efforts were successful.

“It’s such a debilitating thing when people can’t read, because how do you move forward in any kind of context? It’s really important,” he said.

After making the donation, he read a “heartfelt” letter to the editor in the Times Colonist from a reader with a history in education, expressing gratitude to all those who were donating to the Literacy Fund.

That’s when he decided to make his second “easy” decision: a $25,000 donation in his granddaughter’s name.

“I was thinking that my almost two-year-old granddaughter was coming over for a visit. I hadn’t seen her in a long time … It was just one of those warm, fuzzy spur-of-the-moment sort of things.”

The man recalled the many dedicated volunteers who took part in a fundraising book drive in Mississauga before he moved to Victoria. “Without having met anybody here, I thought probably they were the same sort of people, so it was an easy way to help out.”

Volunteers at the annual book sale in Victoria are essential to the success of the event, and come together every year to devote many hours to the task.

The man said he has met lovely, genuine people in Victoria and as he cycles through the region, he has taken note of the many Little Free Libraries.

To donate, go to timescolonist.com/booksale.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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