By Heidi Glaus
St. Louis (KSDK) - In the basement of the historic Carondelet YMCA banana boxes are really starting to pile up.
"We have strawberries back there too," Debbie Redmond, the YMCA Senior Program Director points out.
Debbie and her crew will take whatever they can get, and then pack them with paperbacks.
It's something they've been doing around since 1978. From the very beginning, Rea Finn has helped sort books, lots of them.
"Hundreds of thousands of them I'm sure," says Finn.
She's one of more than 400 volunteers, some as young as 12.
"Up to senior citizens, I don't ask their ages when they get up there," Redmond says.
They all come to lend a helping hand, to sort, stack, price and pack more than four tractor trailer loads of books when it's all said and done.
Then more than probably a million books will be displayed on about 480 tables. And by the end of the book fair all of this will have taken about 9,000 man hours.
"We all love the books and it keeps bringing us back every year," Finn explains.
It brings them back to a book fair that back in 1978 when it first started made $2,600.
This year, more than 30 years later, they hope to make more than $100,000 for the YMCA's youth services and literacy programs.
The YMCA Book Fair opens Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. for a special preview. The preview admission price is $10.
The fair continues Saturday through Wednesday with no admission fee. It all happens at Kennedy Recreation Center near Meramec Bottom Road and I-55.