The timbers of the Potato House shivered as the pirate-themed ninth annual general meeting of the Potato House Project took place on Thursday, Sept. 19.
Despite the looming challenge of raising enough money to pay off the last of their ‘mortgage’ spirits were high and the energy was positive as around 25 members of the Potato House gathered, many in pirate outfits, to conduct business. The meeting was chaired by president Jazmyn Lyons nee Douillard who was happy to highlight all the good news from the last year, including the fact they’ve already raised $6,000 of the $56,000 they need to pay off their mortgage.
Executive director Mary Forbes said that overall the AGM was fantastic and was especially happy to see so many people embrace the pirate theme and wear actual, quality homemade pirate outfits. Dinner was provided for attendees by Lorne Doerkson and his Party Chaser cart while some impromptu entertainment was provided by Harry Jennings who sang The Last Saskatchewan Pirate which the onlookers promptly joined in with the chorus. Hattie and Amos Entertainment also provided a bouncy castle for any children in attendance.
When the time came for new board members to be nominated, Forbes said they had no shortage of volunteers and welcomed three new members including Sarah Fletcher, Celina Parkin and Madison Langlands. The Potato House’s treasurer, Niki Cockwill, proceeded to ‘knight’ the three of them with a pirate’s sabre, much to everyone’s delight.
This year the project’s officers also include Lyons as chair, Sarah Schiemann as vice-chair, Cockwill as treasurer, Forbes as executive director while Oliver Berger will retain his role as the chief green officer. Forbes said they were also pleased to welcome Joe Borsato to their team as their new “Project Alchemist” as he “turns everything to gold.” Borsato has already written four grants for them and intends to carry on doing so and volunteering around the Potato House.
The group bid farewell to longtime secretary Pat Teti who Forbes described as the group’s dependable moral compass for all the years he worked with them. While Ann Carter will still be keeping bees for them, she will also no longer be serving as a director.
They ended up raising $170 from the dinner as Doerkson provided all the food and donated all the money he made to the Potato House. They raised an additional $125 from membership renewal fees, which cost $5 each.
“It was fantastic, it was a really good feeling AGM because everyone just had fun,” Forbes said. “The community has been super supportive and amazing and we’re really happy to be here (in Williams Lake) and we wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
Despite the fact they still have $50,000 to pay off, Forbes said the AGM proved the Potato House’s light, fun-loving spirit is still alive and well. Rather than be worried for them, Forbes said the community, at every event, has been hopeful and been asking how they can help.
“It’s not dread, it’s the anticipation of how we’re going to solve this problem,” Forbes said. “It’s great to have such an amazing team to work with.”
Those looking to help with the financial burden of the Potato House can do so in four ways including coming out to their fun-filled family events, donating directly via the WL Credit Union, donating your bottle money or contributing to their GoFundMe titled Save the Potato House.