The halls of the local Salvation Army and Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre (BVCDC) will indeed be decked this year.
Because of the $52,932 raised by this year’s Smithers Festival of Trees fundraiser both the organizations are getting some much-welcomed donations, with the total split between the two.
“It was fantastic, the event went over very well, had more particpation than ever before, the community came out in a huge way,” Glacier Toyota’s general manager Scott Olesiuk said.
Executive director with the BVCDC Kerri Bassett said the funds are essential for the centre’s service delivery area (from Vanderhoof all the way up to Atlin).
She added that while the BVCDC receives funding from sources such as the Ministry of Children and Family Development as well as both public and private schools, the costs to provide all their programs and services aren’t fully funded by those sources.
“The funds that we receive through individual donations [and] fundraising initiatives come to us to help support some of our purchases for specialized equipment,
resources, developmental toys,” explained Bassett.
Funds will also go to faciliating different community activities such as bike camps in some of the communities the centre services, as well as additional workshop and training opportunities.
Bassett expressed her gratitude to the community which has grown the event over the years to this year, which saw its largest-ever donation total.
“We’re incredibly grateful to … the supporters and donors that helped raise a lot of funds for our services and programs,” she said.
“It was an exciting week.”
Adam Marshall, community ministry director for The Salvation Army in the Bulkley Valley said he was surprised at and amazed by the money they will be receiving.
“It was a really uplifting experience to be a part of my first Festival of Trees and reap from the benefits,” he said. “Our organization will really be able to pursue some of our outreach plans and community feeding programs and our food bank, we’ll be able to develop what we are already doing and really enhance on the services we offer.”
Marshall said this cash should last the organization a long time and have a lasting impact.
“The hope is, it goes towards the additional and the development of new programs that we can offer to last us the entire year — we hope. Of course, we have our own operational budget that pays our bills and keeps our lights on. This money we will utilize for enhancement of our school feeding programs and enhancement of our food bank and our footprint in emergency responses. Plus it goes towards the growing need of families in the area that need more assistance at Christmas time and other times of the year.”
Festival of Trees is held annually at the Glacier Toyota showroom.
Businesses and individuals can donate trees, wreaths or individual items to the event which are then put up for auction to the public.