The Donna M. Garber Blizzard of Books has begun for 2011. Garber was a member of the Friends of the Alpena Library who was an advocate for children and began the Blizzard so that children in need would have a new book for Christmas.
Each year the Friends asks the community to donate new books for children from newborn to age 17. At the Salvation Army Christmas food distribution, parents can choose two books for each of their children.
To donate, drop books at the Alpena County Library or at The Blue Phoenix book store in downtown Alpena. This year Kim at The Blue Phoenix is offering a 10 percent discount on all books donated to the Blizzard. If your order is $50 or more, you will receive $5 off your next book purchase.
If you want the Friends to buy the books for you, donations of checks will be accepted at the library main desk. The Friends are accepting books from now until Dec. 6.
Major Joan Stoker of the Salvation Army said, "Your Blizzard of Books adds so much to our Christmas assistance effort. The kids not only get toys, warm mittens and hats, but also the educational and recreational value of reading."
Last year FOL donated books to 499 children.
So far this year the Blizzard has benefited from donations from the Lions Club, Rotary Club and Zonta.
"By partnering in this way, your contribution of beautiful, ribboned books goes to families with verified needs at a time of year that can be devastating to those experiencing financial crisis," Stoker said.
Books are needed for all ages but a special request would be for books for ages 5-7 and ages 11-14. There are 200 children in these age groups.
At the "Toy-Town" distribution last year, members of the Friends volunteered and helped parents choose books for each child.
"All your efforts are so much more meaningful when you can see the looks on the faces of those parents who are delighted to give the books to their children," Stoker said.