The Rotary Club in Smithers is continuing operations and fundraising events despite COVID. Their meetings are by Zoom now, but they continue to raise funds for charities and local community groups.
The Club has two big fundraising efforts right now, a Kindness Meter campaign and Lucky Toonie 50/50 Draw.
The Kindness Meter campaign is raising money for the Salvation Army Food Bank.
The Lucky Toonie 50/50 Draw, is raising money for other community projects, such as bursaries.
The Kindness Meters are actual old parking meters that the club had refurbished and re-mechanized to accept loonies and toonies, and have two set up now; one at Safeway and one at Bulkley Valley (BV) Wholesale.
Starting Feb. 18 and running to Mar. 17 all proceeds collected at the two stores will be matched by Seabridge Gold, and all monies will be given to the food bank.
“It’s what we do, we help our community, although this year has admittedly been a challenge,” said Joe Tennant, spokesperson for Rotary.
“We know many people are having a hard time this year, so we have had to come up with some unique ideas to raise funds for the community. The Kindness Meters, are one of those ideas that I think is really cool.”
“You can even get cash back at BV Wholesale to put loonies or toonies in the meter.”
“It is a tough year to ask people for donations, but a loonie or toonie that you have in your pocket, is something that can really make a difference. With Seabridge Gold matching funds up to $2,500, we are really hopeful people will see these meters and donate.”
The second big fundraiser for the group right now is their Lucky Toonie 50/50 Draw which is happening twice a month.
“Basically, you pick a number we have, and then that number is yours for all the draws or for however many you want. It’s $2 a draw, and we draw the number each time we meet, which is every two weeks.”
“We have enough numbers for 300 to 500 people to participate, and then the winner can pick up quite a nice jackpot.”
As the money goes back into the community, Tennant said everyone wins and you have better odds than the lotto.
One of the projects this will help fund is the bursaries Rotary gives to graduating high school students.
“We are really excited about our bursary program this year, as we are including high schools from two additional communities, Houston and Hazelton, for the first time.”
“That means we will be giving $1,000 (each) to seven students from the valley and region, who meet the criteria of community involvement, volunteerism and financial need, this year and the Rotary is quite proud of this program,” said Tennant
“Being conscious of the fact that people are struggling, the Rotary is really hoping people can get behind these ways of helping others in the community by still donating, but just in smaller ways. Of course, if anyone wants to donate larger amounts, they can message us through our Smithers Rotary Facebook page, but we certainly appreciate every loonie and toonie counts, and together we can make a difference.”
To participate in the Lucky Toonie 50/50 Draw contact any member of Rotary or message them on Facebook for further details.