The Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre is in the process of upgrading its playground and received a donation of $30,000 raised by the local Beer Fest Society this spring to help with the cause. Pictured from the left are Deanna Phillips, Chad Matthies, Peter Bowman, Al Becker, Joel Martin, Nancy Gale, Connie Sauter, Eric Johansen, Adele Hamilton, Ralph Fowler, Brandon Nikolaisen and Brandi Nikolaisen. Gaeil Farrar photo

Annual fundraiser supports programs for women and children

The annual Diamond Dinner which helps to raise funds for the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre and the Women’s Contact Society is another casualty of the wildfires to hit the Cariboo region hard this summer.

“In respect of the profound impact of the fires on our community we have cancelled the 2017 Diamond Dinner and Auction,” said CDC executive director Nancy Gale and contact society executive director Irene Willsie in a joint press release.

“Many residents and businesses in our community are struggling to cope with the aftermath and we expect these difficulties and challenges will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Both directors ask that the community support the the Williams Lake Stampede Association Wildfire Relief fundraiser coming up at the Stampede Grounds on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30, that will help organizations like theirs to continue their work in the community. The music, auction, community breakfasts and barbecue, fundraiser with activities for children takes place in the Stampede Grounds in conjunction with the BC Barrel Racing Finals running the same weekend.

Both the Child Development Centre and the Women’s Contact Society are continuing to help support families who have lost their homes and others who have lost income, Gale and Willsie explain.

Many of the families the organizations support are struggling with the emotional stress that loss and uncertainty brings and they expect that more families will require support for food and shelter over the next year.

Most immediately the organizations are collecting school supplies.

Both of our organizations are embracing this challenge and will be supporting families throughout the recovery period, the directors say. They will be focusing on providing school supplies during the next two months and the Good Food Box program is continuing to focus on food support.

In response to the wildfires this summer the organizations have also developed a small food bank to support the increased needs for their clients and welcome donations of food, school supplies and cash from those who feel they are able to help.

While they will miss the fun and excitement of the Diamond Dinner, auction and diamond raffle, Gale and Willsie say they are confident that Williams Lake will support the fundraising event on Sept. 29/30.

“Williams Lake is a generous community and has demonstrated great strength and ability to support each other during a crisis and we are now moving forward,” they say.

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