Book sale helps African students


Taxes were due last month, but an Okotoks family were getting its books in order last week.

And it meant some students in another continent will have a greater chance to read and learn.

Rikki Neukom and her family were going through thousands of books on Friday night for their garage sale the next day to raise money for students in Africa.

“We have been doing this for six years,” Neukom said. “We have 20 children in Kenya and we help pay for their school fees, uniforms — any type of essential that we may need.”

The Neukoms were one of the approximately 120 participants in the Okotoks Parade of Garage Sales on May 19.

The family’s first garage sale was to help buy backpacks and supplies for students. They have since switched to help the 20 students the Neukoms’ sponsor through the Innocent Children Foundation.

“School fees range between $10 and $40 a year, which is quite a bit by their standards,” Neukom said.

She told of a student who was sent home because he or she did not have a pencil.

“It was a couple of days before the student could come back because the family couldn’t afford a pencil,” Neukom said.

The goal this year was to raise $2,000 through the garage sale, which sold only books except for a box or two of DVDS.

“We went through thousands of books,” Neukom said. “I like to organize the books, at least the adult ones, by alphabetical order by author. I just think the nicer it is organized, the better it is for people to browse books and take them.”

She got help from her three children and some of their friends who worked on sorting books during Friday’s PD day. Many of the books came from Okotoks Junior High School, which had a book drive to help the cause.

As for the cost of the books for garage sale lovers, it was a haggler’s dream — whatever the customers wanted to donate. It was a great marketing ploy.

“It is ‘take as many as you want for a donation,'” Neukom said. “The first few years, we set prices, colour-coded them and then by noon, we just said ‘Pay whatever you want.’

“We noticed we generated a little bit more money that way.”

Monique Dauphinais and her daughter Amelie had a bagful of books and the Neukoms were going to get all the money mom had.

“We are only going to this garage sale because it is a great cause — we are spending all our money here,” said Monique, who had a handful of books by her favourite author, Phillipa Gregory.

Amelie also had a bagful of books.

“I think it is a good idea because they are donating all the money that is being raised,” said Amelie, a student at Big Rock School.

The Neukoms had help from their three children, Riley, Maya and Sydney, who organized a bake sale, which was taking place during the garage sale.




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