CHATHAM – For the second year in a row, the Friends of the Eldredge Public Library is holding its “Passport to Savings” fundraiser.
The Friends are selling “passports” – small, blue booklets that look just like a U.S. passport – that contain special offers and discounts from 79 local businesses. Purchase of the $20 passport also provides entry into four “special giveaways” for overnight stays, dinner and lunch at local inns and restaurants.
The passport fundraiser began last year as a replacement for the Friends' semi-annual summer raffle, said Bette Hahner, who is running the passport sale. Like last year, 600 of the passports have been printed and their sale will generate nearly $10,000 for the Friends after expenses.
By this time last year the passports were sold out, but because of production problems, the sale got off to a late start, Hahner said. The passports are on sale at the front desk of the library, but she's been working hard to see the booklets at locations where local residents can be found – such as the main post office, Chatham Village Market, and the annex – because that's the target audience for the fundraiser.
“We're a little more than halfway there,” she said Monday.
All of the discounts and special offers are donated by merchants. They run the gamut from free cups of coffee, ice cream cones and popcorn to discounts on meals, and purchases ranging from 10 to 20 percent, a free three-month subscription to The Chronicle for first-time subscribers, and even half off the first month of martial arts lessons. Passport holders take the booklet into the shop, restaurant or service provider which will then check off the appropriate box in the passport. While a free soda or muffin or 10 percent off a meal may not seem like much, when multiplied by the number of participants, the value adds up to much more than the $20 investment, Hahner pointed out.
Filling out the registration form on the back of the passport and dropping it in the box at the front desk of the library qualifies entries for four special giveaways. They include two nights, including dinner and breakfast, at the Wayside Inn; two nights at the Chatham Inn; dinner for six with wine pairings at Chatham Bars Inn's Stars restaurant; and lunch for eight at Twenty-eight Atlantic. Registration forms must be received no later than Sept. 10, and the winners will be notified Sept. 12.
“All in all the merchants have been very generous,” said Hahner.
Funds raised by the Friends helps support library programs. Hahner noted that the town provides just 60 percent of the library's annual budget and it's up to the library board of directors and Friends “to do all the extras.” The Friends, for instance, pay for the library's popular children's programs and activities, as well as book groups, lectures and the Learning Series.
Unless stated in the listing, all promotions expire Dec. 31. Passports aren't available through merchants.
To get a passport by mail, send a check made out to the Friends of the Eldredge Public Library P.O. Box 70, Chatham, MA 02633.