Calgary book drive to help support sexually exploited women

The RESET Society of Calgary’s annual used book sale is set to begin May 11 at Crossroads Market

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A Calgary non-profit is collecting as many books as it can, in hopes of raising money to support women as they escape sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The RESET Society of Calgary is preparing for its annual book drive and sale at Crossroads Market for the first time since 2019, after the COVID-19 pandemic shelved the fundraiser for the last two years.

With close to a million books to be sorted and sold by volunteers, the event is the largest of its kind in Western Canada and the organization is hoping to raise $150,000 to support its services over the five-day sale.

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Among the thousands of boxes, shelves and stacks of books that will be sold, there’s always something special for collectors to dig up, said Theresa Jenkins, RESET’s executive director. While she hasn’t had time to leaf through all of the vintage books piling up at Crossroads, she said one donated box of centuries-old books caught her eye.

“They’re all from Great Britain and they’re all first editions. They’re all written in French; . . .  some of them date back to the 1800s; it’s a full set of these books. I don’t know what the value of that would be, but it’s quite unique,” she said.

While the organization was able to maintain its operations throughout the pandemic thanks to government COVID relief funding, this year’s fundraiser is more important than ever — especially with those funding streams largely drying up and COVID impacting the wallets of some donors. The book drive is RESET’s largest organizational fundraiser, providing about 12 per cent of the group’s yearly funding.

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“Twelve per cent makes a big impact on programming, if we didn’t have those funds,” said Jenkins.

And at a time when the organization’s waitlist for services has never been longer, that funding has never been in greater need.

“(These) are women that aren’t safe. . . They need somewhere to go now. It could be a matter of life and death if they don’t get into a program or somewhere safe. The pandemic has really impacted everything,” she said.

The book collection at Crossroads Market will remain open until May 8, with the sale scheduled to go from May 11 to 15.

For more information on RESET and the book drive, visit

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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