The Wollongong community has banded together to raise a record amount of money for crisis support services at the Lifeline Big Book Fair.
The three-day book sale welcomed 5,386 people through its doors at the Illawarra Sports Stadium in Berkeley and raised a record $140,683 for Lifeline South Coast services.
Lifeline South Coast CEO Rachel Norris said while the popular event raised much-needed funds to invest into Lifeline’s services and programs, it also played an important role in community development.
“There is so much more intangible benefit that happens by virtue of building those communities and awareness of what we can offer,” Ms Norris said.
“It’s a strong need for all of us to feel connected, to feel cared for, to feel that you’re contributing (to the community).
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Book Fair, whether it’s in the Lifeline shops or whether it’s working on the phones, you build those smaller communities.”
More than 90 people volunteered from Tuesday to Monday to set-up, sell books, and pack-up the book fair, and 42 people met regularly throughout the year to sort through the constant stream of donated books.
Event coordinator Alicia Ferderer praised the volunteers.
“Our volunteers do an amazing job collecting, sorting, pricing and packing books for our Book Fair events all year round,” Ms Ferderer said.
“And the effort to prepare all the books at the Sports Stadium in the lead-up to the event is enormous.
“We simply couldn’t do it without our wonderful volunteers.”
In its 13th year, the book fair had 258 people lined-up waiting for the doors to open at 9am, some travelling from outside the Illawarra region.
In total, there were over 80,000 books on display across 50 different categories.
Among the stacks of books were some antique treasures, including The Official History of Australia in the War 1914 – 1918, a collection of 15 books written by different authors, for sale at $800.
Books can be donated all year round at various collection points throughout the Illawarra and South Coast.