Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary to host 3 drive-through book giveaways this month

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Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary volunteers gave a little demonstration of what their Christmas book giveaways will look like this year. Families can drive up to their trailer, where Rotary volunteers will be waiting to hand them the bags filled with books and holiday goodies. (Submitted photo)

Every Christmas season since 2017, the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club has hosted a series of book giveaways in conjunction with various family-oriented holiday happenings in the lakes area.

This year, however, with the holiday event calendar all but obliterated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the club was forced to come up with a new way to give away the 1,500 books that had been purchased through club donations.

"We still needed to find a way to get these 1,500 books into children's hands," said Breakfast Rotarian Kathy Michaelson, who has been involved with the Christmas book project since its inception. "We had to rethink what we were going to do."

The Ice Castle trailer that the club uses for its annual Poles & Holes Ice Fishing Derby provided the means for a creative alternative: Drive-through book giveaways.

"We're really hoping that these giveaways provide families with a safe way to enjoy a little holiday cheer," Michaelson said, noting that the free books are available to any family that would like to have one. "These giveaways are not income based. They are open to everyone."


Three of these drive-through events are planned, with dates and times as follows:

  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 10-11 a.m., Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School, Audubon.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, 4:30-6 p.m., Circle of Life Academy, White Earth.
  • Thursday, Dec. 10, 4-5:30 p.m., Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club.

As each vehicle drives past the trailer, the children inside will all receive an age-appropriate book and a holiday goodie bag, including coupons for a free ice cream cone from Dairy Queen and a cup of hot chocolate from La Barista as well as tooth brushes and tooth paste that were donated by four local dentist's offices: Posch Dental, West River Dental and Lakeridge Dental as well as Dental Associates.
Due to pandemic safety precautions, however, those families participating in the drive-through are asked to stay in their vehicles and let the volunteers hand the bags to them through the car window.

As a further precaution, Michaelson said, "We're having one family — mom, dad and kids — volunteer for each shift. Everyone will be masked, everyone will have gloves on, so it will be a very safe event."

In addition to the three planned giveaways, the Becker County Food Pantry has also been provided with 350 of the books to distribute to families as they come through to receive their food boxes.

"And new this year, we're also going to be working with the United Way's backpack program," said Michaelson, adding that age-appropriate books will be placed inside the backpacks provided to each child in the program, which serves schools throughout Becker County.

"We're really hoping it's a big success," said Michaelson. "It's hard to reinvent things, but we raised the money to buy all the books, so we're determined to get them into the hands of children."

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