Krista Murray of Gibraltar Mine and Kirstie Blackall of Finning are organizing a charity barbecue for United Way taking place Tuesday

Krista Murray of Gibraltar Mine and Kirstie Blackall of Finning are organizing a charity barbecue for United Way taking place Tuesday

Generous donations help United Way to help communities

Finning and Gibraltar Mine are teaming up to host a charity barbecue for United Way on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at the Stampede Grounds.

Finning and Gibraltar Mine are teaming up to host a charity barbecue for United Way on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at the Stampede Grounds.

Organizers Kirstie Blackall and Krista Murray said they hope it will be an opportunity to promote United Way and the local organizations that benefit from its funding.

Murray, the Superintendent of Administration at Gibraltar Mine, said the barbecue was the idea of one of the mine’s unionized employees Chad Beadman.

“We host a number of fundraising events at work during our annual United Way Campaign, but Chad suggested we should do something in Williams Lake to promote United Way,” Murray said.

Blackall has been Finning’s receptionist for just over a year, and has seen United Way fundraising barbecues at her workplace grow from making a few hundred dollars in the beginning to the latest one garnering $1,850.

United Way is a charitable organization that gives people the option of donating to a Community fund of their choice or directing donations to a specific program or charity.

Murray said many employees at the mine choose to have their donation dollars go to the United Way – Williams Lake Community Fund.

Representatives from community and workplaces that fundraise for United Way sit on the Williams Lake Community Impact Council.

This year the council dispersed $97,000 to the community.

“The ask for funds far exceeded the pot of money we had to give out,” Murray said of this year’s round of applications, noting the council tries to give money to every group that asks, but cannot always give everyone what they ask for.

After brainstorming, Blackall and Murray decided on a family-friendly event and chose to run the barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m.

The time frame will allow working parents to bring their children and give people more time to visit than if it was held over a lunch hour, they said.

This family event will feature activities for kids, machines for viewing, information booths, etc.  Another main attraction will be a bouncy castle for kids.

As a small community, it is nice to raise awareness and use this as a social event within our town, the organizers said.

Instead of asking for large donations for the barbecue, they’ve been soliciting smaller ones from more people and the response from the community has been great, they added. For example, one company has donated a door prize while another is donating paper plates and napkins.

The barbecue will take place in the lower fields of the Stampede Grounds, where there are picnic tables and washrooms for public use.

Finning and Gibraltar hold frequent barbecues and fundraising events at their workplace, but this time wanted to make an event on a larger scale and bring more community involvement.  “It would be nice to see more people from the community at this event, than the majority being our employees,” they said.

Anyone wanting to donate to the barbecue or find out more information can contact Kirstie at 250-392-1624 or Krista at 250-992-1800.

Some of the organizations that received funding in last year’s campaign are Big Brothers Big Sisters for its in-school mentoring after school program, Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin for a women’s conference, the Cariboo Regional District Library for teen drop-in programming, School District 27 for the Communities That Care program, Williams Lake Hospice for operational funding, Williams Lake Salvation Army for its drop-in program and the Williams Lake Social Planning Council for operational funding.