FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Abbeyfield of Fort St. John was the lucky donation recipient at the city’s first 100 Women Who Care event since 2019, which raised a record-breaking amount.
Abbeyfield House received $33,900 thanks to record-breaking attendance and Tourmaline Corp. matching the event’s usual $10,000 goal to help “play catch-up.”
Abbeyfield House is an independent seniors home for those who wish to maintain their independence but don’t want to keep a home and don’t want to live alone.
Volunteer Nelson Stowe spoke on Abbeyfield House’s behalf as the last presenter of the night.
“I think the companionship [at Abbeyfield House] is a really big thing for them and a relief for the families, that they have some place for their parents to go that’s affordable,” board director Rita Schonewille explained.
Her excitement for the donation remained even after the event was all said and done.
“I’m still shaking inside.”
Abbeyfield in Fort St. John is currently at capacity, with 12 seniors living there.
With the over $30,000 donation, Schonewille said full walk-in showers will be installed in both bathrooms at the house with all the necessary safety features.
“Whatever money is left after that, we have a list about three feet long of stuff that needs to be done,” Schonewille said.
Stowe added that the long list is due to the house being 15 years old.
“There are little things that need to be done, paint, touchups, things like that,” Stowe said.
100 Women Who Care reached another milestone on Tuesday, hitting $100,000 raised since 2017 through six events.
Tara Waddy, one of the event organizers, said the point of 100 Women Who Care is to make a significant impact or change.
“If I walked into Abbeyfield house today with a hundred dollars, ‘thank you, that’s really generous of you….’ But it doesn’t create an impact. It doesn’t create change,” Waddy explained.
“However, when 100 of us get together, or 200 of us, as it might be, we can make a meaningful change today.”
The want for a significant impact is why the group doesn’t split the funds between multiple non-profits.
“It goes to the large impact and the meaningful change, and if you split it, it’s not going to be that much,” Waddy explained.
Despite some of the presenters not leaving with any donations, the goal of the presentations is to give the non-profits exposure to the community.
According to Waddy, she and the rest of the organizers were nervous prior to the event; however, their tune changed when the night began.
“We went into this night quite nervous. Were we going to have enough people? Were our old people at our huge event in September 2019 going to come? Was it going to be five of us hanging out alone?” Waddy said.
“It ended up being phenomenal. We took money for three weeks, and it was shocking how fast it came in. It was shocking the date we hit $10,000 before we walked into this room.”
Prior to Tuesday, the Fort St. John Association for Community Living was the event’s largest donation recipient.
Soon-to-be interim executive director Trina Sperling and association member Carmela Klassen spoke about how the $20,100 received in 2019 made a considerable impact.
The money raised in 2019 went towards a new wheelchair-accessible van.
The first presentation of the night was from the North Peace Mental Health Society, though they were unable to attend.
Instead, they presented a PowerPoint accompanied by music while the audience read about the society.
The society offers support for those suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.
Executive Director Adrienne Greyeyes presented for the Nenan Dane zaa Deh Zona Family Services Society. Nenan offers a wraparound approach to working with families and children.
“We respect the traditional practices, values and beliefs of Indigenous peoples. Our focus is to reduce barriers, build capacity and improve scale,” Greyeyes explained.
She said the money raised will go towards Nenan’s pantry program, which covers everything from diapers, food, toiletries and other necessities. In the future, the group would like to expand the program to include cooking classes, gardening for fresh produce and space for frozen produce.
After voting, but before announcing the winners, door prizes were given to a couple of lucky guests.
After Abbeyfield was announced as the winner, early bird ticket holders were each given a rose from the Petite Petal Company.
Waddy said the event couldn’t have been done without the sponsors and the volunteers. Everyone involved thanked the community for coming out to support the event, the volunteers for running the event and the sponsors for their assistance.
The next 100 Women Who Care Fort St. John event will be on Tuesday, September 26th, so watch the Facebook page for more information.
Thanks for Reading!
Energeticcity.ca is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it–but we need your support.
Give $10 a month to Energeticcity.ca today and be the reason we can cover the next story.