Books bring us together; they offer a common ground for empathy and discussion. This was once more proved to us at the Foundation during Edmonton’s latest Fringe festival, where we helped host the 6th annual Fringe Book Sale in coordination with staff and patients at Alberta Health Services (AHS). If you made your way to the Old Strathcona Fringe grounds this August, chances are you walked past it in your theatrical travels.
The yearly book sale is a valuable way to get a variety of individuals involved in the support of mental health. Throughout the spring months, staff at AHS hold a book drive in preparation; thousands of books are donated to the cause.
In addition, this event provides an opportunity for mental health clinics—including clients—to volunteer, engage with the larger community, and be empowered to fundraise for a program which will benefit them.
This year was a particular success: those of you who stopped by helped us raise almost $12,000—both through sales and donations in support of the cause! The money raised from the books sales goes to fund celebrations for clients at Alberta Hospital Edmonton and the 108 Street Community Mental Health Clinic.In past years, this support has ensured that at least 400 people have a chance to celebrate the holidays.
“Every year it is an amazing experience,” says volunteer coordinator Melanie Chipeniuk. “We often have customers stop in and talk about their personal experiences—as well as friends’, and family members’—with mental health. Additionally, we have some clients who are open in sharing their personal mental health stories; which generates some great conversation out at the tent.”
We believe that discussing mental health is one of the most important conversations you can have, so we’re thrilled that so many of you engaged with our volunteers. Thanks for helping us support our community. We hope to see even more of you next year!