By Elizabeth Riggs

What do you get when you combine an abundance of books, a variety of baked goods, and craft vendors? The Colden Bread of Life Outreach Center’s second annual Books, Bangles and Bake Sale, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Center.

According to June Marie Russo, a Bread of Life Outreach Board Member, the Center’s overabundance of books led to the idea of a book sale, and adding several other vendors to the event just fell into place.

“It just blossomed,” Russo said. “This year we are at full capacity.”

This year’s event will include 35 vendors offering a variety of items ranging from natural soaps to handmade cards, knitted accessories to a mobile spa, and much more. In addition, the Center will be hosting a bake sale with a variety of homemade goods donated by its members.

In conjunction with the sale, all vendors will be donating items for gift baskets that will be raffled off during the event, and the Center’s clothing thrift store, Gabriel’s Closet, will be having a blowout sale.

On the same day as the event, the Center will be launching a little free library in memory of a former member who donated the funds to create it. A growing trend across the nation, little free libraries are a place for community members to both leave a book and take a book.

“Once we have better weather, people will have the opportunity to pull up and do a book swap,” Russo said.

But beyond the scope of next weekend’s event, the Center is doing much more in the community than just hosting bake sales.

Through various fundraisers, the Colden branch of the Center alone supports nearly 80 area families in need, providing them with both clothing and food via its food bank and Gabriel’s Closet.

During the summer months, the Center is also the site of a large farmer’s market.

“A farmer’s market runs all through the warmer seasons on Saturday and vendors pay a small fee,” said Russo. “We have local farmers, florists, honey, eggs and food trucks.”

She added, “Also, once a month we have Western New York food pantry and that is for any-income eligibility for surplus food to be utilized. They selected us and reached out to us within the past year, and it’s amazing how much fun we have. There is so much camaraderie.”

The Center has also recently unveiled plans to host quarterly Colden Community Gallery events, in which local artists will host art shows at the center, and then donate a portion of their earnings to its mission. But they aren’t stopping there.

“With new extended the hours, we are going to plan keynote speakers and bring people in to teach cooking classes and anything that can help with continuing education or wellbeing,” said Russo.

Though it seems the Center already has so much to offer, Russo is hoping that profits made at this weekend’s event will allow them to continue to grow.

“We have tried to reach for the stars and we are very close to getting to that point,” said Russo. “We hope to have something extremely positive to announce very, very soon.”

The Books, Bangles and Bake Sale will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bread of Life Outreach Center, located at 8745 Supervisor Avenue, Colden. For more information, visit their website at