Wheel Cares campaign raises more than $54,000
Charity: Campaign nearing $250,000 mark after six years
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 09:28 am
Foothills residents opened their wallets and hearts to help charities supporting people in need over the Christmas season.
The 2017 Western Wheel Cares campaign raised a total of $54,614.46 over two months in support of eight organizations that address a wide range of needs in the community. The donations have been split up between the charities and organizations, with each receiving $6,826.80. The recipients are Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary & Area, Foothills Country Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, Magic of Christmas, Okotoks Food Bank, Rowan House Emergency Shelter, Sheep River Health Trust and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The 2017 donations fell just shy of the 2016 high mark of $56,424 and they bring the six-year total for Western Wheel Cares to $248,467.
“The 2017 Western Wheel Cares charity fundraising campaign was an overwhelming success,” said Western Wheel publisher Matt Rockley. “To think that in two years donations from the community have brought over $110,000 for local charities, that’s huge and in six years approaching $250,000 it’s just amazing.”
He said the campaign has established itself as a way for people to support charities in the Foothills over the Christmas season. Rockley said it allows people to support a range of charities that address a variety of causes and needs in the Foothills area with one donation.
“People like that it’s really the same affect as writing eight different cheques because the full amount goes to the charities,” said Rockley.
This year’s recipients say the donations to Western Wheel Cares will make a real difference in the lives of families and individuals at need in the community.
Marilyn Boake, Habitat for Humanity Foothills Chapter chairperson, said the Wheel Cares funds will go towards the group’s next build project in Okotoks.
The chapter has acquired a lot in the new D’Arcy community where it plans to break ground on a duplex this year.
The group needs to raise $80,000 in cash and another $40,000 in construction materials or gifts in kind before families can move into the house.
“It’s a really excellent boost for us and it really helps us with the confidence knowing that we will not be delaying families taking home ownership because we have to have the money before the families can come in,” said Boake.
She said they are about 30 per cent of the way towards their fundraising goal, so the Wheel Cares donations are a big help.
Ally Cramm, Rowan House community relations co-ordinator, said the Wheel Cares donation will be directed towards the Rowan House’s work helping women and their children escaping from abusive relationships.
“It’ll help offset the $800,000 that we have to raise to maintain all of the programs and services that we provide,” she said.
The funds will help the shelter with food and basic necessities for women and children who come to the shelter, as well as counselling and outreach programs.
The shelter’s operations cost $2.7 million each year. The provincial government provides about two-thirds of this amount, but it needs to raise $800,000 each year to cover its operations.
“Every single dollar makes a huge difference at the end of the year and we greatly appreciate the support of the Western Wheel and the Foothills community,” said Cramm.
Magic of Christmas member Angie Steciw said the donations will help their work to spread joy at Christmas each year.
“Spreading joy and cheer at Christmas, is our main goal and of course helping where we can and making sure they have Christmas because lots of families don’t have Christmas,” she said.
They visited 135 families in 2017 before Christmas. She expects this number to grow in 2018, so the Wheel Cares donations will get put to good use.
For the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Okotoks, president Julie Heggenstaller said the Wheel Cares funds will allow them to support approximately seven to 10 families in moments of need. The society helps people with a wide range of needs that can’t always be addressed by other charities or organizations.
“The calls that we’re getting are more dire,” she said. “In the past it used to cost anywhere from $300 to $500 that we could really help somebody. Now we’re looking at anywhere from $500 to $1,000 at least, sometimes more.”