'Passport' Provides Access To Special Deals In Library Friends Fundraiser

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Eldredge Public Library

Bette Hahner, left, and Carol Garey with the “Passport To Savings” being sold by as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Eldredge Public Library. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – Interested in a free ice cream cone, muffin or discounts on dozens of services and retail stores? Then the “Passport To Savings” is for you.

A fundraiser for the Friends of the Eldredge Library, the Passport – which looks a just like a real passport – is available for $20 and provides special offers and discounts at 64 local businesses. Purchasers can also enter giveaways for two nights at the Wayside Inn, dinner at Chatham Bars Inn and lunch at the Wequassett Inn's 28 Atlantic Restaurant.

The Passport replaces the Friends' semi-annual summer raffle, which was “getting a little old,” acknowledges Bette Hahner, chair of the group's ways and means committee. With only 600 available, the Passports, if all are sold, will raise about $10,000, after expenses, the same amount of money as the raffle, she said.

Those funds support many library programs, above and beyond the facility's regular budget. The Friends pay for all of the library's children's activities and program, which reach hundreds of kids from infants to teens, as well as book groups, lecture series and the Learning Series. They also help purchase much-needed equipment that isn't covered by the library's operating budget.

“It's all the little extras that make the library a special place,” said outgoing Friends ways and means chair Carol Garey.

“The whole idea was to come up with something different,” Hahner said of the Passport fundraiser. Similar promotions had been done in the past, and it seemed like a good fit; many different merchants and businesses could be involved, and each would know exactly what their commitment would be. With a little hard work over the winter, they were able to get 64 businesses – most in Chatham but a few from Harwich – to agree to provide a discount or giveaway. Each receives a half-page ad in the booklet, so the merchants are also getting plenty of exposure, Hahner pointed out.

Passport holders can scan the list of participants, organized by category, and take the booklet into the shop, restaurant or service provider and redeem the relevant offer. The merchant then checks off their business to signify that the offer was redeemed. Participants include restaurants, retail merchants, boat tour operators and service providers such as painters and landscapers. The value of all of the deals included in the Passport greatly exceeds the $20 cost.

“Just a dessert will run you $7 or so,” Garey pointed out. Most of the deals are available through Dec. 31.

As an additional enticement, each Passport owner can enter the giveaway by filling out a form on the back and mailing it in or dropping it off at the library. The giveaways are two nights at the Wayside Inn, including dinner and breakfast for two; dinner for six with wine pairings at Chatham Bars Inn's Stars Restaurant; and lunch for eight people are the Wequassett Inn's 28 Atlantic restaurant. The winners of the giveaway will be announced at the Friends' annual Books In Bloom event on Aug. 27.

The Passports will be available starting this week at the library, and will also be sold on some days in front of the Chatham Village Market. Passports are not available from participating merchants and businesses.

“We're excited,” Garey said of the fundraiser. “The beauty of this is that it can be an annual thing that benefits the library.”