Literacy Buffalo-Niagara seeks Scrabblefest help

·2 min read

May 23—Adult literacy education is a matter of racial, social and economic justice.

In our region, 143,000 people struggle with basic literacy and need help to achieve their life goals. They have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. That includes people of color, who are three times more likely to struggle with literacy issues.

Literacy Buffalo Niagara is looking for individuals interested in making a difference — or for those just seeking a good time — to participate in Scrabble®Fest, the annual initiative that promotes fun through gaming and raises awareness and money to fight illiteracy in our region.

Specifically LBN seeks people willing to host parties in their homes, businesses, churches, community centers, restaurants, coffee shops ... or anywhere. Parties should be held by June 15 but LBN can make accommodations.

People often consider illiteracy a problem of the past, but that is not true, according to LBN director Tara Schafer. She says 20% of people in our region suffer from low literacy and numeracy levels and/or language issues.

"Low literacy has been called the greatest solvable problem of our time because it is fixable, and Literacy Buffalo Niagara is leading the charge locally," Schafer says.

Scrabble®Fest was created years ago as a way to engage the community in the crusade for increased literacy. The idea was that an individual would host a party at the location of their choice, people could get together, play Scrabble® and donate money to advance literacy efforts. In past years, the winner from each party was invited to compete in the Scrabble®Fest Finals where the annual Western New York Scrabble® Champion was crowned.

Hundreds of parties have been held since the beginning, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and everywhere: Bookstores, businesses, outdoor events, on boats and even in other countries.

The host determines the location and the milieu. Some parties involve beer and chips; people donate $10, which goes directly to LBN programming. Other parties have been elaborate $100 brunches with multiple VIPs and local royalty in attendance.

For more information about hosting a party, download the Scrabble Fest Toolkit at: ; or contact Schafer at or (716) 876-8991.

Scrabble®Fest is one of only two annual fundraisers that LBN holds. Individuals can donate directly without attending a party by texting "LBNSCRABBLE" to 91999.