Matthew Skeate can recall his earliest memories of picking up his first books and learning to read. That feeling, he said, was magical.
Now, the vice president of the University of Idaho Sigma Tau Delta aims to help provide that feeling for other young readers with the help of the First Book program and the Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse.
The Giving Market brings nonprofit organizations like First Book together with holiday shoppers to give gifts, and give back.
“The question they ask is ‘Do you remember the magic of your first book?’” Skeate said.
Justin McCabe, Sigma Tau Delta president, said First Book aims to create equal access to education for children, mainly through literature.
“It’s our main community service project — we fundraise for them and we promote them,” McCabe said. “So, this is why we paired with the Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse.”
Together, Sigma Tau Delta — UI’s chapter of an international English honor society — First Book and the Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse hope to bring books to children through donation this holiday season.
In aiding students and community members with picking a nonprofit to donate to, Skeate and McCabe teamed up with Dianne Daley Laursen, one of the co-founders of the Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse, in the Idaho Commons this week.
Laursen said giving through the market is as simple as donating $5 to the First Book program and two new books will be given to Latah County beginning readers.
The market, she said, is 100 percent volunteer-run and all the funds raised profit the nonprofits directly.
“It’s a way for people to come together and support the quality of life we have on the Palouse,” Laursen said.
However, some nonprofits extend even further than the Palouse and help community members in impoverished countries.
Laursen said the Giving Market began nine years ago and originated out of the same Dr. Seuss quote the volunteers still share, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
There are five gift levels, starting at $5. For each donation made, that person receives a card to give someone “the gift of giving,” Laursen said.
Last year, the Giving Market generated $32,000 in donations. In its nearly 10-year run, the Giving Market has raised $158,122 with over 65 nonprofit organizations.
“It really shows the power of community,” Laursen said.
Laursen said online shopping is available through Dec. 15. Thursday night, she said, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the 1912 Center in Moscow, the Giving Market will host all 32 nonprofits for those interested in donating.
“After the holidays, instead of asking ‘What did you get for Christmas?’ Let’s ask, ‘What did you give for Christmas,” Laursen said.
Hailey Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at Hailey_ann97
Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse website: https://agmpalouse.org/