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Booktoberfest a Festive Way to Help With Literacy Project

Booktoberfest a Festive Way to Help With Literacy Project

Posted: September 12, 2012

On Thursday, September 13, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., you can enjoy music, food, and beer (of course) at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery while helping to get books into the hands of kids who need them most.

The third annual Booktoberfest is the premier fundraiser for Project Flight, a not-for-profit literacy organization founded in 1994 by two Buffalo State faculty members—Elizabeth (Betty) Cappella, distinguished service professor in the Higher Education Administration Department, and Geraldine E. Bard, professor emerita of English.

Each year Project Flight disseminates more than 250,000 free books to Western New York students, teachers, libraries, childcare centers, and service groups. Cappella and Bard also have traveled to countries throughout Africa to give books to children in schools and orphanages

"There is a greater need than ever," Cappella said. "And more people are starting to find out what we do and contacting us for help."

The two professors donate their time, pay for their own travel, and organize a host of volunteers. The only administrative cost is the stipend for a graduate student who assists with Project Flight.

Numerous studies have established a correlation between poverty and low reading scores. Ironically, children in high-need districts are often prohibited from taking books home due to the cost of replacement. Thus, they grow up with little or no reading materials.

"Our strategy is to give these children an enlightened environment through literature—a magical bullet to help them rise out of poverty," Cappella said.

Schools that have received Project Flight books have seen student reading scores climb by an average of three points, and two of the at-risk schools were named "most improved" by the state of New York, according to Cappella.

Some books are donated by publishers or paid for by foundations, businesses, and individuals. Still, it is not enough to cover the cost of all the needed reading materials so fundraisers are necessary.

Tickets to Booktoberfest, at 76 Pearl Street in Buffalo, cost $30. Admission includes crafted beer, wine, soft drinks, and an assortment of German-inspired food, along with music by the Auslanders, and the opportunity to participate in an auction and raffle of donated items. Some of the bigger items include Buffalo Bills paraphernalia and game tickets, a get-away weekend to Niagara Falls, and an iPad.

Sponsors for Booktoberfest include Key Private Bank; The Children’s Guild Foundation; ComDoc; Crowley Webb; Lumsden & McCormick LLP; Kissling Interests LLC; The Buffalo News; and Entercom Buffalo. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Anyone interested should contact John Fletcher at or (716) 698-8401.

For more information about Booktoberfest, visit

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