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Emergency fund focus for CFOW on #GivingTuesday

Sea to Sky corridor kicks off 'giving season' with new campaign



The Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) is hoping to raise $5,000 for its emergency fund with a campaign set to begin on "Giving Tuesday" — Dec. 1.

The money will help go to support people who have experienced loss due to an emergency. Just recently, the CFOW distributed $2,800 from that fund to three families who lost their homes in the Nov.10 Alpine House fire — it's the first time the fund has been accessed since it was created 10 years ago.

"Because you never know when an emergency will happen, how many people will be affected and how they will be affected, it's important to have this fund as a resource for the community," said CFOW's executive director Carol Coffey.

Giving Tuesday, or #GivingTuesday, is a relatively new movement to create a national day of giving, born in part out of the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and designed around the holiday season of giving.

This year the Sea to Sky corridor is taking part with 20 local charities joining together to create Sea to Sky Gives, which will launch on Giving Tuesday. Each partner will feature ways that the community can give back on that day and throughout the month of December.

"By coming together on Giving Tuesday, we can raise funds and awareness for local non-profits in our region in a bigger way," said Coffey. "Giving Tuesday can be a way to unify a community and show support for all the wonderful organizations we have here who feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, inspire youth, care for the environment, rescue animals, and more."

The Whistler Food Bank's goal is to raise 1,000 pounds of food on Giving Tuesday.

That goal, said food bank coordinator Sara Jennings, is a realistic one, though it's difficult to measure.

"Normally in a regular month, we get less than 1,000 pounds donated," she said.

December is the food bank's busiest month for donations, receiving between 7,000 and 9,000 pounds.

On #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1, food can be donated at Nesters, IGA or Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) during office hours.

Jennings said the campaign also includes financial donations, with $1 equalling two pounds of food.

"It's the start of the giving season," she said. "It's on people's minds as they come towards Christmas and New Year's."

In many ways, the financial contributions to the Food Bank can go further — WCSS has big purchasing power and can get more bang for its buck. The money also allows them to focus on fresh food.

Not all local campaigns are focused on money. The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council is asking people to post a photo to social media of their favourite outdoor place with the hashtag #NativeNotInvasive.

The focus for the CFOW's emergency fund, however, is cash. The community has already donated $1,450 in the aftermath of the devastating alpine fire that left dozens homeless as it affected all 21 units of the condo complex at the corner of Highway 99 and Alpine Way.

The fund was created out of money raised from the Whistler Workers Cup Society, through an annual Workers Cup race event, open to trades people in the valley and then open to all.

The society transferred $8,858 to a new emergency fund in the CFOW. Since then, the fund has grown to $16,900, primarily from investment income.

"Our team at WCSS appreciates the opportunity to partner with the CFOW and make this fund available to residents affected by the fire," said Whistler Community Service Society's outreach worker Jackie Dickinson. "All of the clients we have connected with are very grateful and appreciative of the community, their efforts and donations."