During November’s atmospheric river-caused flooding, Merritt Central Elementary School (CES) sustained major damage throughout the campus, including the loss of an estimated 2000 books and other library resources, the replacement of which have been greatly aided by a charity books drive.

On May 4, Monic Charity Foundation delivered close to 1000 donated books to CES.

The non-profit organization by Vancouver-based financial firm Monic Financial, saw the need for new library materials and the opportunity to encourage future generations.

“Helping children grow is one of the key mandates we have,” said Stanley Ho, Director for Monic Charity. “We hope to give them the thought that giving back is always a positive gesture.”

Monic Charity jumped on the opportunity to assist Merrittonians in flood recovery by supporting their literacy and emotional health, both of which benefit from access to library resources. The organization hosted a book drive in the Greater Vancouver area, soliciting donations from local families.

The response was positive, says Ho. “A lot of the parents that we extended invitations to were very excited to participate and make donations.”

Many students in the Nicola Valley were displaced from their homes and schools for months, and some continue to be. Teachers and staff at CES have gone above and beyond to provide students positive learning experiences throughout what has been a tumultuous school year, and Monic Charity’s donation will improve access to a sense of “normal” for students.

“We had a five week period where the kids weren’t coming to the school and accessing books, so all the more important right now for our library to be able to get those books into Central students’ hands,” said CES Principal Dan Duncan.

Moving forward, the school’s library will sort their newly received donation, as well as continuing towards their goal of returning to the CES campus from their current accommodations at the former Coquihalla Middle School for the beginning of the 2022/23 school year.

CES librarian, Leanne Cleavely, was excited about what Monic’s donation means to the Central community.

“We need to provide books to over 200 students,” said Cleavely. “It’s huge to get this donation because it’s going to help us get more books out. I’m just blown away by the amount of help we received. A lot of people recognized there was a need here and it’s really neat to see.”

Cleaveley added that books have been a source of both learning and comfort for Central students during trying times, allowing them to escape reality and find a moment of peace and calm.

“Literacy supports everyone’s learning. The kids get a lot of comfort out of losing themselves in a book. It’s not always just the learning piece, it’s good for the soul.”