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Have lunch and support the Gering library
September 11, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, local residents can have a tasty lunch and also help the Gering Public Library as they team with Runza Restaurants for the 12th annual Great Books for Great Kids fundraiser.

The Gering Runza will be donating 10 percent of their sales from that day to help the Gering library add children’s books, fiction for the teen collection and graphic novels to build their collection.

“Runza Restaurants do this throughout the state for their local libraries,” said Shelley Ruterbories, public services librarian at Gering. “Last year, they raised more than $40,000 for children’s programming and books. That’s $315,000 since they started the program.”

The Gering library has also updated its fiction collection for children and teens and set up a display in the library. “Those titles have been flying off the shelves, so apparently we needed the update,” Ruterbories said.

“We get great support at both our stores,” said Neil Blomenkamp, Runza owner in both Gering and Scottsbluff. “This is a very positive event. Reading is vital to everyone’s success and it’s one of the building blocks of a great education. That’s why we’ve gotten behind this.”

Becky Perrett, director of marketing for Runza National, said they organize the fundraisers because promoting literacy is an important endeavor for children in any community. Reading is vital to lifelong success. It also provides an opportunity for families to spend time together.

Blomenkamp said the Great Books for Great Books event brings in larger than normal crowds. Teachers also come for lunch that day. People have even come in before the event to donate to the program. And people who do stop to eat will sometimes include some extra for the program.

“This fundraiser helps us keep other funding toward programming on the children’s side,” Ruterbories said. “That allows us to do more with the summer reading program and story time.” With support from Runza, the library is able to add new kids’ books and programming they might not be able to afford otherwise.

“It’s a really nice way for the community to get involved and have a nice lunch while they’re at it,” Ruterbories said. “Last year we had about $600 available for new books. That’s a pretty good chunk of books every year.”

Blomankamp said the people of the valley are very community oriented. “That’s why I love living here. It’s just a great community.”
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