The Yonge Street Mission Slams Poverty at 10th Annual Community Book Fair with Over 30,000 Books

TORONTO, June 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Over 30,000 books of all genres, for all ages, will be given freely at The Yonge Street Mission's (YSM) 10th Annual Community Book Fair taking place from June 14-19 at 306 Gerrard Street East.

Literacy is a powerful tool that closes the divide between people living with poverty and the well-to-do. It also brings people from all walks of life together. The Yonge Street Mission's Annual Community Book Fair not only promotes literacy and education but equality as well.

This hidden gem available to the public started a decade ago as a community initiative to promote literacy to YSM's low-income neighbours in Regent Park, Moss Park, and St. James Town.  The first event shared up to 15,000 books.

Mr. Thevapaskaran, an overjoyed father who visited the first ever book fair with his three children, expressed his gratitude.

"This is so helpful to people who don't have money. These books will help my children with their reading skills. Some of the books will be read in a day. After that, we'll give them to someone else."

During spring, thousands of books are donated and dropped off in locations along the 30-kilometre underground PATH walkway. This huge donation is thanks to a long standing relationship with Brookfield Properties, 100 Starbucks Coffee Canada shops across downtown Toronto, Owlkids and other committed donors.

The Yonge Street Mission's Annual Community Book Fair is like Christmas for the summer.

Kathi Bonner, Senior Property Manager at Brookfield, explained the reasoning behind the initial sponsorship.

"When sponsoring families at Christmas, we saw that mothers always asked for books. It dawned on us that books tend to be luxury items for a lot of families. We started talking about doing a book drive, and through the good heartedness of our tenants, the idea exploded. Everyone thought it was a great idea!"

Organizing the book fair would be impossible without the help of over 180 volunteers, which results in 650 volunteer hours. Books vary from fiction, non-fiction, travel, cooking, biographies, romance, business, books in multiple languages and a large children and youth section.

"Books have a lasting impact on people's lives. Owning a book can promote continued learning, endless enjoyment and allow for imaginations to soar! Our community knows how much YSM, our donors and volunteers care by our working hard to make this event as organized and as special it can be", shares Ruth Pentinga, Director of Volunteer Resources.

Members of the media are welcomed to interview some of our 180 volunteers, passionate staff, and community members.

Event Information

This event is open to the public. There is a suggested donation entry fee at the door (min. $2/sliding scale).

306 Gerrard Street East, by Parliament Street, inside The H.B. Martin Centre for Urban Education.

Days and Hours:
Saturday, June 14, 10am-1pm
Monday, June 16, 10am-12pm, and 2pm-4pm
Tuesday, June 17, 10am-12pm, and 2pm-4pm
Wednesday, June 18, 10am-12pm, and 2pm-4pm
Thursday, June 19, 10am-1pm

Social Media:
Twitter @YSM_TO

The Yonge Street Mission has worked on the front lines of poverty in Toronto since 1896, providing free meals, healthcare, clothing, job training and education, counselling, and help to thousands of individuals and

SOURCE: Yonge Street Mission

For further information: Media Contact: Helen Choi, Marketing Coordinator, C: 416-320-6803, T: 416-929-9614 x4281, E:


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