The Daily News Raise-a-Reader campaign has set the bar high for other communities, raising more for literacy programs than any B.C. city outside of Vancouver and more than larger newspaper markets across Canada.
About 200 volunteers - including TRU's WolfPack and City councillors - fanned out into the community for the national Postmedia fundraiser, held Sept. 24.
People in the street and others patronizing businesses donated more than $16,000 to support literacy while hawking a special edition of the newspaper.
Combined with local sponsorship and matching funds from government, the total adds up to $95,870, $15,000 more than was raised last year when a previous record was broken.
"I think it really speaks a lot of Kamloops, how successful we are here," said Rick Major, Daily News circulation manager and campaign co-ordinator. The same can be said for surrounding communities, including Chase, Barriere, Logan Lake, Clearwater and Merritt, which gave generously. Street sales in Clearwater alone amounted to $2,850.
"After five years, we have a formula that works very well," Major said.
"It was absolutely overwhelming and wonderful to get this," said Daily News publisher Tim Shoults.
More volunteers pitched in this year than in the previous four years and the timing didn't conflict with the UBCM convention, enabling local politicians to play a part, he noted.
Street sales in the local campaign were more than three times what they were in Kelowna, a larger market.
Contributions from events such as the Corporate Challenge Spelling Bee ($6,900) held in May and the West Coast Pulp Golf Charity Invitation golf tournament ($15,000) helped set a record for the Kamloops effort.
Advertising and promotion have given the cause a higher profile, Major said.
"When people start to realize how wide a group it touches, I think they realize how important it is to support it," he said.
Literacy benefits all generations and walks of life.
"It really starts to impact the community when we see the people who need help," said Major.
All proceeds support local literacy programs. All told, eight B.C. communities together raised more than $1.1 million.