A recent community celebration at the Stampede Grounds highlighted the success that results when local industry and local business reach out to generously support local non-profit agencies.
The end result is a better life for local children and families, say the event hosts.
Finning Canada and Gibraltar Mine hosted the barbecue as a fundraiser and a thank-you to the United Way for their Williams Lake community fund.
Through the United Way, Finning Canada and Gibraltar Mine contribute approximately $100,000 a year to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), Communities that Care, Williams Lake Food Policy Council and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
“Finning and Gibraltar Mine are two big United Way supporters in the area, raising the bulk of the Williams Lake community fund every year,” says Amber Harding, United Way Thomson Nicola Cariboo communications manager.
“They organized and hosted this fun event, both a fundraiser and awareness builder. They really want to get out to the community what they do in terms or raising money for local charities and non-profit organizations.”
She says that every dollar raised in Williams Lake stays in Williams Lake, and every penny is invested by a local community impact council made up of leadership donors. “People from places like Gibraltar and Finning make the decisions about where the money goes,” she added.
“The local impact council invites requests for funding from non-profit organizations, giving representatives the opportunity to present their requests in person, explaining where the money will go and how it will benefit children and families in the community.”
Several organizations who have benefitted from the local United Way community fund were on site with information about their programs and services, as well as treats and activities for kids.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters featured treats, a draw for prizes and information.
The Boys and Girls Club had leaf imprinting for kids. The Food Policy Council had a veggie toss game with fresh, spray-free BC fruit as prizes.
Canadian Mental Health Association had balloon animals and stress balls made of rice and balloons .
Communities that Care had Positive Action activities such as word games, puzzles and colouring.
There was delicious food, and a bouncy castle on site thanks to Sean Dirkson and his family from Bouncehire, who delivered it from 100 Mile House. Other participants were Cariboo GM, with volunteers helping to barbecue food for the event.
Kirsty Blackwell from Finning is one of the main organizers of company fundraising for United Way. She said that both Finning and Gibraltar have an employee contribution program in place, and that this was one of several United Way fundraising events she has helped put on this year. “I like supporting United Way, as it focuses on community and the families within,” she said. “It’s good for the community to realize how active United Way is in supporting our community programs and where the funds go.
“This event was great — it brought awareness and created a fun night out for families.”
Both Finning and Gibraltar Mine match employee contributions to the United Way local community fund.
Chad Beadman from Gibraltar Mine has been involved with the United Way local fundraising efforts at the mine for nearly seven years. He said that what he likes about contributing to United Way is that the money all goes to support the local community.
“The beauty of the United Way is that you get to dictate where you want your money to go,” he explained. “When I look at the various organizations we’ve helped, it feels good. I think everybody’s gone through tough times, or knows someone who has.
“When you can give back to an organization that has helped you and your kids, I’m all for that.”