Support for book fair is ‘phenomenal’: volunteer
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Jan 10, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Support for book fair is ‘phenomenal’: volunteer

Ottawa East News

The annual book fair hosted by Kanata United Church is a year-round endeavour for the many volunteers who help organize and co-ordinate the event.

Now in its 22nd year, proceeds from the book sale help support numerous local, national and global charities, including the Kanata Food Cupboard.

“It’s been a worthwhile cause,” said Bev Popyk, co-ordinator of this year’s book fair.

Popyk has been helping to organize the sale for 11 years since joining the church.

Ruth Winter, also a member of the church, held the position of co-ordinator the last seven years after Popyk stepped down from the position before picking it up again. Winter is now in charge of the advertising of the book sale.

“You work with wonderful people,” said Popyk about her fellow volunteers. “It involves the community in such a big way.”

Numerous volunteers, numbering around 100 people, put in countless hours every year, collecting, sorting and pricing books for the fair, as well as setting up and tearing down for the event.

“We alphabetize our books too so it makes it really easy for people to shop,” said Popyk, who was busy sorting through donated novels in her basement in the Heritage Hills community on Jan. 2.

Many volunteers donate more than 50 hours of work leading up to the book fair, which will take place this year from Feb. 21 to 23 at Kanata United Church in Beaverbrook, said Popyk.

“It’s a very, very large number,” she said of the hours worked. “Then there’s the community itself. Their support is phenomenal.

“It’s fun work. And everybody always says what a good cause it is, so that motivates us all.”

Plans for the next year’s book sale will begin soon, she added.

“The book fair is a year-round effort. We start planning as soon as the main book fair is over.”


The first 24-hour book drop opens around June, running to mid-September when volunteers begin the first round of organizing. The second drop has begun and runs until Feb. 11 at the front entrance of the church, located at 33 Leacock Dr.

“We cull and sort and go through the books and (set the) price,” said Popyk.

The church collects between 30,000 and 35,000 novels, children’s books, cookbooks and more. Textbooks, encyclopedias or magazines are not accepted at the book drop.

“We have every fiction genre you can think of. We’ve got children’s books, a huge non-fiction (section), military books; we’ve got a huge cooking section,” said Popyk, adding there is also a Canadian literature section.

The church also hosts a children’s afternoon during the book fair.

“The kids get a chance to shop on their own. The book selection for kids is amazing,” said Popyk.

Unsold books are often donated to other churches, schools, retirement homes and the Ottawa Mission.

“(The book fair) certainly serves the community in getting a good supply of books circulated,” said Popyk. “It’s been supported so well by everybody.”

For more information about the book fair, visit the church website at or call 613-592-5834.

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