The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) will try out a new fundraiser in Prince Albert when they host the inaugural Free the Finest event at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday.
Sergeant Rhonda Meakin of the Prince Albert Police Service said they’re trying to find new ways to support the Special Olympics.
“This is our very first attempt at a fundraiser of this type here in Prince Albert,” Meakin said. “We have been with the Law Enforcement Torch run, raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics and Special Olympics athletes for years. This is the first time we’re trying this type of event, so we’re pretty excited about it.”
The event is similar to a Jail ‘N Bail, where individuals in the community are ‘arrested’ for something fun. Afterwards they are brought to the holding facility until they raise their bail and are released.
The event will be in the Art Hauser Centre parking lot.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is a collaborative effort involving eight law enforcement agencies from Prince Albert and the surrounding area. The goal is to raise funds to improve the quality of life of Special Olympic athletes by providing them with access to top-notch training facilities, accommodations and other resources.
Meakin said that they had done numerous events with the Law Enforcement Torch Run over the years including golf tournaments, puck shoots at the Prince Albert Exhibition, hot dog sales at schools and a wild game banquet.
She said they’re trying to return to form after a couple of tough fundraising years. Meakin said some of the fundraisers couldn’t be held due to COVID. When things started returning to normal, it was still challenging to follow through on other fundraisers.
“Quite honestly, after COVID, there was a lot of momentum that had been lost,” Meakin explained. “We tossed up the idea of the golf tournament this year and thought, you know what, instead of the golf tournament, let’s try something new, so after a meeting, this came up,” she added.
Meakin said that while they did lost some momentum, their desire to continue supporting the Special Olympics never changed.
“With COVID, everything shut down and because we weren’t able to do some of the other things that we had previously done, we just looked at some different fundraising and awareness options to try and continue to help special Olympics,” she said.
Meakin said that the Law Enforcement Torch Run is a worldwide event, and a great fundraising platform for the Special Olympics. She said the Special Olympics has been a great organization to partner with.
Victoria Lacelle Director of Marketing and Development with Special Olympics Saskatchewan, said the feeling is mutual.
“(With the) Saskatchewan Law Enforcement Torch run, we have officers from agencies across the province who raise funds and awareness for the over 800 Special Olympics athletes in Saskatchewan,” she said. “We have over 800 athletes in 15 different communities that are doing year round sport programming, and we can’t run those programs without the financial support of organizations like the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“I truly mean it when I say we couldn’t do it without them. Having the police involved for as long as they have been—the Law Enforcement Torch Run has been around in Saskatchewan since the ‘90s—supporting our programs. it just really means a lot that we can continue to build those partnerships and grow our programs and increase those fundraising dollars every year.”
Lacelle said that Special Olympics is also important to the communities
“Without Special Olympics, oftentimes people with intellectual disabilities don’t have a place to participate in sport. It really means a lot that we’re able to offer these programs and at low cost to all of our athletes.”
The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 31 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
“The weather looks to be good, though, so that’s exciting,” Meakin said.