Unimaginable solidarity and helpfulness for the Heemstede Hospice

Unimaginable solidarity and helpfulness for the Heemstede Hospice

Unimaginable solidarity and helpfulness for the Heemstede Hospice

Entrepreneur Arno Koek, owner of bookshop Blokker in Heemstede, walked around with the idea to do something with used books for more than two years. “Many of my clients came to me and asked if I wanted/could do something with used books because they had no space left in their bookcase” says Arno who soon came up with the idea to organise a second-hand book market for charity. But it had to be a goal that was recognisable, sympathetic and local.

It was Anne de Wit-Zuidema of the Hospice Foundation Group Haarlem e.o. who made the penny drop and made everything come together. Anne, secretary of the Hospice, came to talk about publishing to raise donations for the new Hospice on the border of Haarlem and Heemstede. During their conversation Arno shared his idea with Anne and this is how after two years Arno’s idea became a reality; a second-hand book market whose proceeds would entirely benefit the Hospice.

It was however necessary to speed up the process because the conversation with Anne was late July and the weather played a major role in the success of the event. It was decided to schedule the event mid-September. And as befits a true entrepreneur, Arno set the bar a little higher and agreed with Anne that their goal was to raise between 2.000, – and 2.500, – euro for new crockery, glasses and cutlery for the Hospice. From that moment on the ball really started to roll, by sharing the idea with customers a lot of volunteers from its clientele as well as from the hospice came to help but also from fellow entrepreneurs and the municipality. Thus, the large container was made available by the company Brantjes Data destruction BV from Haarlem, the eight stalls were delivered for free by the fa Pel and the municipality did their share by providing the permits free of charge. And all this just by calling and asking, said Arno, because all it takes to do something like that is time and energy.

The action consisted of two parts; the first part, the collection of books lasted four days, and the second part, the book market itself, a week. And from day one there was a big crowd. Arno told us himself that he was still in doubt as to whether or not he should have gotten a smaller container the night before the action would start. Fortunately, he didn’t because the container was rapidly filled. The fundraising campaign ran from Tuesday, September 9th to Friday 12th September. Koek: “When the container was full people were still arriving with bags and boxes full of books. We just put them in the back of the store and on Saturday, during the start of the sales campaign, put these books on our stalls first. Unbelievable, what a commitment! ” With a jam-filled container it was constantly a surprise to see which books emerged. A lot of older books, but to my joyful surprise I also saw quite a lot of newer titles pass by. So an ideal hunting ground for bargain hunters.

Very special was the togetherness of people, not just the volunteers but also the buyers, often the change was also donated to the Hospice and even if people could not find a book there was often still a donation. Additionally, there were many positive comments from people for Arno and his colleagues. Really great to see that such a beautiful and distinct bond arises in which local purposes and the fact that we knew what we wanted to purchase certainly played a major role according to Arno. For the volunteers we had made plans but the people were just so excited that they would spontaneously ask if they could help. Especially the last sales day where we had the chance to have a drink together and discuss the action and share experiences with each.

And that the event was a success is evident: the aim was amply surpassed, partly because the firm Brantjes donated another 5 cents for every kilo of unsold books. Thanks to the efforts of Arno and his team of volunteers, the proceeds were 10.000, – Euro! So on top of the crockery, cutlery and glasses we were also able to purchase a special mattress for the stretcher to take guests from the first floor to the garden and the remainder was devoted to furniture and art for indoor and outdoor.

The solidarity and helpfulness of people was incredible to see, everyone who came was happy and enthusiastic. Especially because the goal was so palpable and nearby, says Arno, who also evokes other entrepreneurs to be creative and do something for the community.

Arno Koek – Boekhandel Blokker Heemstede

Charles Giesberger