Kinsmen Club donates to Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Kara Thorpe of the Prince Albert Literacy Network, Gavin Holcomb of the Kinsmen Club of Prince Albert and Kurtis Hamel co-chair of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library as the Kinsmen donated to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library on Tuesday.

The Kinsmen Club of Prince Albert donated $5,000 to support the Prince Albert chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPILPA) on Tuesday as a way to celebrate International Literacy Day.

Kinsmen Club members made the donation at the Prince Albert Literacy Network office in Gateway Mall. Club member Gavin Holcomb said the club supports literacy any way that they can.

“With the times now a lot of people have been staying at home and this is just a way to make sure we get some books in some kids hands,” Holcomb said.

“We are always looking for ways to help out the community and especially youth and literacy, it just depends on the area, but there are lots of kids that need help with literacy. It’s just a way to also get clean books in people’s hands as well,” he added.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Canada is a free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere. Each month, enrolled children receive a high quality, age appropriate book in the mail, free of charge. Children receive books from birth to age five.

After becoming fully operational in March 2021, the Prince Albert affiliate has almost 300 children registered to receive a book each month for free.

The program relies on community donations and said in a release that they were pleased to receive the Kinsmen Club’s support.

Kurtis Hamel co-chair for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Prince Albert, said they were pleased with the uptake on the program.

“We have done quite well, considering that we started during a pandemic,” Hamel said. “We are closing in on about 300 children registered so we have had some good success. We know that literacy is important so the earlier we can get books into children’s hands the more success we will see them have when they hit school.

“This is a great way to get books in hands of children free. From the time they are registered they get 60 books. By the time they are done after five years. I don’t think there are any other programs out there that compare.”

At this time, the program only covers the City of Prince Albert, but does not cover the surrounding areas.

While this has been a source of disappointment to some parents who were unable to register their children, DPILPA hopes that parents can understand that fundraising constraints require setting a geographic boundary.

There are 2,570 children under the age of five in Prince Albert. If half of them sign up for the program, it will cost approximately $60,000 annually.

In the future, DPILPA aspires to include the surrounding area as well. Anyone wishing to start their own chapter is welcome to contact DPILPA for more information.