The Rotary Club of Kimberley raised $10,000 in a very short amount of time for Christmas Hampers for the community. This was a brand-new campaign for this year and didn’t start until November.
Representatives of the Rotary Club presented the cheque to representatives of Kimberley’s Parent Advisory Committees (PAC) and the Early Years (birth to five-years-old) program at McKim Middle School on Tuesday, Dec. 7 and the funds will be divided up between Kimberley’s schools and the Early Years Program.
“Because the Food Bank had trouble not being able to run the Angel Tree program anymore, they weren’t going to be giving out gifts,” Pat Barkley of Kimberley Rotary explained. “So Rotary, ‘let’s try and set up a program where we make sure kids have a joyful Christmas.’”
The Rotary Club quickly jumped into action and created The Gift of Christmas program, and they were quickly amazed by the generosity of the community.
Businesses, clubs and individuals poured in donations and they rapidly reached a total of $10,000 — about ten times more than they anticipated raising in such a short time period.
“Unfortunately in a town of our size, we have people who are in need, so there are people who are pretty well financially strapped and every extra dollar at Christmastime makes a huge difference to the family,” Barkley said. “Anything that goes to the family goes to the kids and improves the whole spirit of Christmas.”
The Rotary Community Online Bingo has been a massive fundraiser for all Rotary clubs in the East Kootenay, raising around $1 million throughout the region. The Kimberley Rotary Club was able to draw some money from that and because that money can only go to eligible societies with the Gaming Commission, it was fortunate that PAC groups are one of them.
Most of the money, however, came from the community. The Lions Club, for example jumped on board. Steven Royer, Mark Creek Lions Club, made a personal donation, as well as from the Lions Club and the Marysville Pub meat draw.
“It was a community effort, it’s not just Rotary, it’s a community effort,” Barkley said.
The hope is to grow it even more next year.