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Peter Black

peter@qctonline.com

Hundreds of book lovers found bargains galore at the book sale at Quebec High School (QHS) this past weekend. It was held in support of the Jeffery Hale Partners (JHP) SNACS Entrepreneurs program and as a fundraiser for a QHS student humanitarian trip to Costa Rica.

As of early in the third and final day of the sale, organizers reported the event had exceeded expectations, with more than 400 shoppers spending more than $8,000. Books were priced at $3 each.

The COVID-19 situation compelled sale organizers to improvise. The sale has been held at Eastern Québec Learning Centre (EQLC) for many years, but because of health measures, organizers arranged an online book sale with supplies of books stored at QHS.

Last year, a sale took place over five days at QHS at the end of June under strict pandemic health measures.

JHP executive director Richard Walling said it’s likely there will be another book sale at the usual time in the fall, again at QHS, because that’s where the books are now stored. He said the sale may return to EQLC eventually.

Walling said “the student body makes a real difference” when the sale is at QHS, as students pitch in to help take on the massive job of sorting and placing books for sale on tables in the school gym.

Organizing the sale also requires many adult volunteers. Nectaria Skokos of JHP said at least 10 volunteers from the community have been working with the dozen or so student volunteers, who are raising money for a humanitarian visit to Costa Rica in 2022.

The SNACS program has run the book sale since 2018, when the Quebec City Women’s Club passed the torch for the popular event after many years of organizing it.

Through its entrepreneurs program, SNACS – Special Needs Activities and Community Services – offers on-the-job training opportunities and employment to young adults with disabilities in order to “help them develop their life skills and social and vocational abilities, while also providing the community with quality services,” according to the program website.

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Photo by Peter Black

Helping sort and place thousands of books are volunteers, second from left, Linda Weseloh, centre (in black shirt) Ed Sweeney, Richard Walling (in striped shirt), Claire Quenneville (with arm on box), and far right, Nectaria Skokos. The others are student volunteers of the QHS Costa Rica humanitarian trip project.

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