PJStar Reports on Beta Alpha Psi's Christmas Fund

December 17, 2013

Bradley book donations stack up for Christmas Fund
By Dave Reynolds of the Journal Star

PEORIA — Community service has long been an integral part of Bradley University’s Zeta Lambda chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for accounting majors.

Heading into the Christmas season two years ago, the group sought a different means of raising money for charity on campus.

“We were finding that students don’t carry cash around much anymore to donate directly to causes,” said accounting professor Simon Petravick, the organization’s advisor. “So we came up with the idea of Books to Baskets, asking students and faculty to donate unused books.”

The textbooks were then sold to online book buyers, who would in turn sell them back to other students. The proceeds were sent to the Journal Star Christmas Fund to help provide food baskets and toys for central Illinois families in need.

“We accepted all kinds of books from different colleges,” Petravick said. “There are all kinds of people walking around here with books they don’t need. There’s a market for those books.

“We’d go online through the book buyer sites, get the best price, box and seal them and send them off. When the checks came in we deposited them into our organization’s bank account and then wrote one check to the Christmas Fund.”

That first year, $922 was raised. The project was so successful it was executed again in the spring for District 150, raising $776 for the Peoria Public Schools Foundation.

Last December, another Books to Baskets drive was held for the Christmas Fund, netting $415. However, the check was sent in late and the amount was added to this year’s dollar count.

“That made us the first ones to contribute this year,” Petravick said with a laugh. “We were working ahead of the game.”

The accounting students set up a book donation table for two days in the business building and for another two days in the Student Center.

“It was successful,” Petravick said. “It seemed like people were more than willing to part with their books for a good cause. Any books we couldn’t sell we recycled through our bookstore’s recycling services.”

While Beta Alpha Psi is involved with a different charity fundraiser this season, the spirit of giving remains the same.

“When our students leave Bradley, we hope they realize they have some obligation to give back to the community,” Petravick said. “So we come up with different ways they can do that.”

The Christmas Fund is now in its 101st year. The goal is to donate 5,085 food baskets and 1,700 food baskets while raising $185,000.

Donations may be mailed to: Christmas Fund, PO Box 1549, Peoria, IL 61655.

To read the story on the Peoria Journal Star website visit: http://www.pjstar.com/article/20131214/LIFESTYLE/131219488/?tag=2&refresh=true