Read-a-thon to benefit local Red Cross chapter

Published 1:00 am Friday, April 1, 2011

The inaugural Red Cross Read-a-thon, set for April 9 at I Can’t Believe It’s a Book Store, will benefit the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross, which has its headquarters in Washington.

Gary Ceres and Richard Snow, owners and operators of I Can’t Believe It’s a Book Store in downtown Washington, will host the read-a-thon at their bookstore from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The event seeks volunteers to become readers and sign up sponsors for every 10 minutes of reading during the event. Volunteer storytellers will entertain children during the fundraiser, which also promotes literacy.

Kim Richardson, executive assistant with the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross, said sponsors may sponsor 10 minutes of reading for $10, however, any and all donations will be accepted.

“People can donate any amount,” she said.

Ceres and Snow approached the Red Cross about conducting the read-a-thon because they wanted to help after the flooding that occurred in the area several months ago.

“We had done something with (a) Beaufort County library and other good organizations,” Ceres said. “And what better organization to help out than the Red Cross.”

Ceres said he and Snow wanted to do something unique, something other than a walk-a-thon, to benefit the Red Cross.

“So, we’re doing an all day read-a-thon here at the bookstore,” he said.

Ceres said he sent fliers to schools and received great feedback from people making pledges for the fundraiser.

“And we’re very happy to have Lydie Jennings, (wife of Washington Mayor Archie Jennings,) to read at the read-a-thon,” he said.

The Red Cross does not receive government funding or grants, Richardson said.  Its funds come from donations.

“Money’s always tight with the Red Cross.” she said, “Such as when a house fire happens, we want to make sure the victims are clothed and fed.”

“This is the time of year, we always try to have fundraisers,” she said.

According to Richardson, Beaufort, Hyde and Tyrrell counties are served by the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Richardson said the read-a-thon is part of the Red Cross’ Heroes campaign, a national campaign that runs from March 1 through April. It has been around for 10 years.

Richardson said funds raised by the read-a-thon be used to provide shelters for natural-disaster victims, food, clothing, meals and beverages for first responders, emergency communications between armed-forces members and their families, support for blood services, education and training.

“To clothe and feed a family of three who were victims of a house fire usually costs around $400,” she said. “And in winter, we include cold-weather clothing as well.”

Richardson said the McCotter’s Marina fire in January taxed the local Red Cross chapter’s coffers, noting that some boat owners lost boats that served as their homes.

The read-a-thon continues to seek sponsors. Sponsor forms are available at I Can’t Believe It’s a Book Store, 216 W. Main St.

“It’s worthwhile because all the money’s going to a great cause,” Ceres said.

For more information about the event, call the bookstore at 252-946-0855 or the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the American Red Cross at 252-946-4110.