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Jones Library kicks off annual basket fundraiser

Six baskets filled with gift certificates, books and chocolate will soon be placed in the atrium in the Jones Library to mark the start of the annual Baskets, Books and Chocolate fundraiser.

The Friends of the Jones Library organizes the benefit to support the summer reading club at the Jones and the Munson and North Amherst branch libraries, in which about 300 youth participate annually.

“It’s a great program that involves so many schoolchildren and keeps their interest in books and reading during the summer,” said Christine Stevens, a member of the Friends board.

The baskets will go on display Thursday and remain in the atrium for a month, culminating with a wine tasting March 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. and the drawing of the winning tickets.

Stevens said the Friends group is trying to get a local celebrity to be on hand to select the raffle winners.

Numerous local businesses donated products, Stevens said.

“We wanted to streamline the process. It’s a pretty big endeavor when you’re doing more than 100 baskets,” Stevens said.

Instead of a silent auction this year, where the highest bidder wins the basket, the fundraiser will hold a raffle, which Stevens said should make this more accessible to everyone in the community. People who buy tickets can place them in containers next to the specific baskets they hope to win.

The baskets are one of the major Friends fundraising initiatives each year, the other being Beds for Books, in which patrons of the library open their homes to families of students at area colleges and the money they would get for lodging instead is donated to help the library’s book fund.

Raffle tickets for the baskets will be available at the library for $5 apiece or five for $20.

— SCOTT MERZBACH

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