Archive for Friday, April 21, 2006

Service for blind desperate for space

Audio-Reader has nowhere to put gifts to be used in fundraiser

April 21, 2006

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A pile of records and musical instruments litter a room in the Kansas Audio-Reader Network office on the Kansas University campus.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Peg Sampson, assistant development director.

Audio-Reader is ready to begin collecting albums and compact discs for its biggest fundraiser of the year, but there's a hitch. They don't have anywhere to put the stuff.

"We're really in kind of a hard spot," Sampson said.

Audio-Reader - a nonprofit reading and information service for blind and visually impaired people - spends all year planning for its annual "For Your Ears Only" fundraiser. This year's event is set for Sept. 22-23 at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The organization takes in donated records, CDs, DVDs, videos, musical instruments and stereo equipment, and sells the items at reduced cost.

The event raises about $10,000 annually to support Audio-Reader's operations.

For several years, Audio-Reader used borrowed space at an apartment complex to house the thousands of items in preparation for the fundraiser. Volunteers spend the year cleaning and organizing the items and categorizing music by genre.


Peggy Sampson, assistant development director for the Kansas Audio-Reader Network, browses through donated records that will be sold at the studio's annual fundraiser. Because Audio-Reader lost the space used to store the donated items for the sale, the Lawrence-based radio reading service is no longer able to receive new donations.

Peggy Sampson, assistant development director for the Kansas Audio-Reader Network, browses through donated records that will be sold at the studio's annual fundraiser. Because Audio-Reader lost the space used to store the donated items for the sale, the Lawrence-based radio reading service is no longer able to receive new donations.

But when the apartment complex space had to be converted for other use, the organization was left without a home for its donated items. With a room at the Audio-Reader headquarters already filling up and several volunteers storing items at their homes, Audio-Reader has been forced to halt its collection.

Sampson said she has a list of people who want to donate items, but she can't take them because she doesn't have space.

"If I have to turn away items, I'm not very hopeful of how the sale is going to go," she said.

Sampson has called area developers and commercial real estate agents looking for a big space, but hasn't turned up anything.

"We just haven't been able to ignite the imagination of somebody who's able to help us," she said. "Everybody is just squeezed."

Got room?

To help Kansas Audio-Reader Network find a home for its donated goods as volunteers plan for this year's "For Your Ears Only" fundraiser, contact Peg Sampson at 864-2686 or psampson@ku.edu.

Sampson said she never would have predicted the search for a donated site would be this difficult. The organization is looking for a large site of at least 800 square feet that's climate-controlled and secured. Because the space would hold thousands of records and CDs, Sampson is looking for first-floor space or a site accessible with an elevator.

Sampson said she's optimistic they'll find one.

Meanwhile, volunteers such as Jim Claussen are holding on to the donated goods. Claussen said his two-car garage is stuffed with two cars, yard tools and boxes of records. He put the records on a dolly to make them easy to move when he needs to reach his tools. Claussen has tried to help by also looking for space, but to no avail.

"We'll get it solved," he said.

Comments

Sideshow_Bob 8 years, 11 months ago

Someone should have some room somewhere.

dex 8 years, 11 months ago

what about those strip malls the city built? i can't imagine either is at capacity...

the audio reader program is a wonderful service. the (braille) literacy rate among the blind is shockingly low, not that i can remember what it is, and the unemployment rate of those who can't read is somewhere around 50%. in addition, many books including college textbooks aren't availabe in braille so audio reader services like this one provide access to something that most of us probably take for granted. publishers are reluctant to offer electronic (computer readable) copies of their books to the blind because it only takes one bad apple to distribute the electronic copy to those who can make cheap pirated copies.

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