Barb Pope from Mulberry Bush Book Store in Parksville shows off her Angel Tree Box

Caring for Kids at Christmas — Find an SOS Angel Tree

Give the gift of reading to low-income families in Parksville Qualicum Beach

  • Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 p.m.

LISSA ALEXANDER

Special to The NEWS

Reading books improves vocabulary and writing skills, boosts creativity and enhances memory and brain function, and those are some of the reasons why Barb Pope is excited to host an SOS Angel Tree at Mulberry Bush Book Store in Parksville this Christmas.

“From my point of view, books are the very best thing that children can be given at Christmas,” said Pope, co-owner of Mulberry Bush Book Stores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach.  “There are all sorts of articles and things written about how important reading is for children, and I think that probably most of us can remember back to our own childhoods, and we had special books in our lives and those special books are still meaningful today.”

A number of local businesses and outlets like Mulberry Bush Book Store have agreed to host an SOS Angel Tree, which supports the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program. These small Christmas trees (or boxes if space is limited) have angel ornaments on them, and on the back of the ornaments, a suggested gift is listed. These items have been identified as popular gifts in the SOS Toy Shop, where low-income parents and grandparents shop for free for their children.

The SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program ensures all local children and youth have a special gift to unwrap on Christmas morning, and that adults can enjoy a meaningful meal with dignity.

The SOS Toy Shop is consistently short on books, particularly books for teens and tweens. Mulberry Bush Book Store specializes in teen books, and they have put together a selection of about 20 popular titles for both tweens and teens, which the public can purchase at their Parksville store, and they will be distributed through the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program.

Authors and educators Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts report teen reading benefits on their school.familyeducation.com website: “Besides helping teens do well in school, reading also helps them expand their horizons as they learn more about people and the world. Plus, reading can show teens that everyone has problems in his or her life and may even help teens see solutions to their own problems. Finally, reading is enjoyable. It can bring a great deal of pleasure to teens.”

A couple of years ago, Pope approached some of her publishers and gained their support to donate some books for teens and tweens to the SOS Christmas program. This year she hopes the public “catches the magic and the importance of giving books to children and youth.”

“There are just so many children out there who aren’t given books and they are missing out on so much.”

Look for SOS Angel Tree posters in the windows of local business outlets to find an Angel Tree. Alternatively you can find a link to a list of participating Angel Tree businesses on the SOS website at www.sosd69.com.

For more information about the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program, or to donate, visit www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093.

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