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North Clackamas Chamber organizes Christmas breakfast to benefit nonprofit for children's books

PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Kerry Nelson, owner of CarePatrol, played Santa at the North Clackamas Chamber's Christmas Giving Breakfast last year.

Join the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce to kick off the holiday season at the annual Christmas Giving Breakfast being held Friday, Dec. 2, at the Monarch Hotel.

As is customary, one charity will receive proceeds generated from the event. This year's recipient, the Clackamas Bookshelf, was selected by the chamber's volunteer ambassador committee.

Last year, Clackamas County's Children's Center received $5,000 from the annual Christmas Giving Breakfast. Since 2012, chamber members and the community have donated nearly $50,000 to nonprofit organizations through this Christmas Giving event.

Clackamas Bookshelf is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making sure that all kids have access to books in their homes by providing free books to low-income children in the Clackamas County community.

Clackamas Bookshelf Executive Director Katy Preston said it was an "honor to be selected, for sure" by the chamber as the Christmas breakfast beneficiary. PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Rory Dunnaback and Mike Drennan from the North Clackamas Chamber's board of directors helped Chamber CEO Laura Edmonds (right) present a check to Karen Rush, executive director of Clackamas County's Children's Center last year.

"The funds will allow us to continue to purchase books that contain diverse characters living in an ever-changing diverse world," Preston said. "We want all children to see themselves in books and think, 'That could be me!' Also, by having a variety of people in books, normalizes the fact that we are all different, and that is a good thing."PMG FILE PHOTO - Maria Preston, daughter of Clackamas Bookshelf Executive Director Katy Preston, helps give away bags of books to kids getting free meals during the COVID-19 school closures.

Since schools reopened, the Clackamas Bookshelf has continued to hand out books to students. Last year, every child in elementary school in Molalla received a bag of 10 age-appropriate books to call their own, almost 10,000 books were distributed just in that district.

This summer Clackamas Bookshelf volunteers attended the second-annual Empowerment Center Resource Fair in Wilsonville, where many social service providers gathered in one place. Volunteers handed out books in five different languages: Spanish, Mandarin, Chinese, Russian and Japanese.PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Karen Rush, Children's Center executive director, thanked members of the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce for their support last December.

"We are starting off this year with a focus on some rural schools that we weren't able to serve last year," Preston said. "Last school year we handed out 29,000 books, our best year yet. So, of course, our new goal for this year is 30,000. Since we started in 2014, we have given away 147,398 books in total."

A group of chamber volunteers will collect raffle prizes to support the fundraising efforts at the breakfast. Raffle prizes are donated by the local business community.

All funds raised by raffle ticket sales the morning of the event will be given to The Clackamas Bookshelf.PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Tanya Rosequist draws tickets and announces raffle items at the North Clackamas Chamber's Christmas Giving Breakfast last year.

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