Tori Sutton, Stratford Gazette
A last-minute push for donations has left Big Brothers Big Sisters of Stratford and District closer to their goal.
Last Thursday, the agency announced $90,470 was raised during its Bowl for Kids Sake event.
“We’re definitely closer than we were at the end of April,” BBBS executive director Altiera Essensa told the Gazette.
A few weeks ago the agency reached out to the community to solicit more donations after the event raised $85,000 throughout April, an approximate $7,000 shortfall from the year before. Inching closer to the $92,000 goal was important since funds raised during Bowl for Kids Sake usually make up 40 to 45 per cent of the agency’s annual budget.
“It could be better, but I’m still happy with where we finished, absolutely,” she said. “The community involvement was great, the people who came out were great and the energy was still high. Everyone had fun.”
In total, 19 different Bowl for Kids Sake events were held, with 145 teams entered. Sixty-two local businesses took part and of them, 10 raised over $1,500 for the cause. Over 750 bowlers took part, with 21 raising $500 or more. Major fundraisers included title sponsor Scotiabank, which raised over $34,000 between its participating branches and central mortgage unit.
With the agency facing a slight deficit, Essensa said more fundraising events will be considered in the coming months, though nothing has been finalized.
“What that means at this point I can’t say but our ultimate goal is to make sure we balance our budget at the end of the year,” she said. “Being down a couple thousand means we need to pick up a couple thousand.”
General donations are accepted by BBBS at any time, and the donor may choose which program they would like their donation to support if they so wish, she said. The agency is also in need of volunteers. Currently, there are 32 children on the waiting list for its traditional program, including 26 little brothers and six little sisters. There is also a need for volunteers for its school-based mentoring programs.
“We have lots of fun,” Essensa said, adding the agency is currently gearing up for its summer programs, including its day camps.