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Region 5 Blog December 9th, 2022
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Red Chair Raffle for Health and Wellness

Posted by on October 15th, 2020 Posted in: Health Literacy, News from Network Members, Public Libraries
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Learn how the Belgrade Community Library combined a fundraiser with a seasonal fitness program. We thank  Sarah Creech, Adult Services and Cataloging Librarian at Belgrade Community Library in Belgrade, MT, for providing this guest post.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three years since the Belgrade Community Library Foundation hosted a raffle for one of the Virginia City red ski lift chairs from Bridger Bowl, in Bozeman, Montana.  The Virginia City “Red Chairs” were being retired to make way for a new, safer ski lift and folks all across Gallatin County, the state of Montana, and even the United States, wanted a piece of the Bridger Bowl history. The lift was originally put in place in 1978, and served the lower half of the mountain.

Red Chairity flyer

Bridger Bowl Foundation was successful in raising money for their own foundation using the raffle technique and had some extra chairs available for local nonprofit organizations to raffle. Their one stipulation in donating a chair to the Belgrade Community Library Foundation was that the money raised be put towards health and wellness programming and collection development at the Belgrade Community Library.

Two library staff members attended the annual ski swap to promote the “Red Chair” raffle, unfortunately they weren’t allowed to sell tickets. However, it drew a lot of interest in the community which would most likely be interested in owning a beloved “red chair.” There were lots of chuckles at the pun “Red Chair-ity,” which helped keep the staffers toes warm.

Tickets were sold at a cost of one for $20, six for $100 and fourteen for $200, only cash or check could be accepted due to gambling laws in Montana. The drawing was held at the end of the annual Belgrade Festival of Lights on December 9, 2017, this event is essentially a winter party put on throughout the Belgrade community. The winner was chosen by a child in attendance at the festival and when we called to let the winner know he won there was a lot of shouting and “hurrah-ing.” He said he had been trying to win a red chair since they started raffling them off earlier that summer.

library raffle with red chair life and tickets in a raffle container

Since December, 2017 with the over $4,000 the raffle raised, the Belgrade Community Library has put together seasonal fitness at the library programming featuring low impact cardio, gentle yoga, yoga for health aging, a story walk, and more. We started a Get Up and Move program for kids age 2-6 years old and their siblings – so far we’ve held Zumba, Jr, yoga for kids, ballet, and fitness from books. We’ve hosted the basics of ayurveda series with a local doctor of ayurvedic medicine, a program featuring a local author who experimented on himself with several fitness methodologies, and we’ve purchased books and DVDs for the circulating collection.

This raffle and the subsequent funding available for programming inspired the Belgrade Community Library to participate more wholeheartedly with other health and wellness groups in the Gallatin County area. We are now a member of the 5210+ Gallatin coalition, aimed at promoting a health lifestyle for everyone through the 5210+ method: eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, limit non-work or school screen time to 2 hours per day, move your body for 1 hour every day, drink 0 sugar-sweetened beverages every day, and the + is up to you – what will make you healthier – meditation, not smoking or cutting down on tobacco use, getting enough sleep, etc. In case you’re curious to learn more about the coalition visit 5210gallatin.org. For more information about the Belgrade Community Library, to sign up for our monthly newsletter, and to get more information about our ongoing health and wellness programming, visit belgradelibrary.org or our Facebook page

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the NNLM Region 5. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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