Hope the purple hippo making her way around the city to raise money for charity

Hope started her journey on Monday and has already been to eight houses in Prince Albert

The Disiewich family were hit by the hippo this week and donated $500 to the campaign. (Submitted photo)

Hope’s Home has come up with a creative fundraising idea at a time when the pandemic means the usual banquets and events are off limits.

Hope’s Home runs living homes in Prince Albert and other cities for children with complex medical needs. They also have an early learning centre and daycare in Prince Albert.

Their fundraising efforts started off well this year with the Swinging with the Stars event hosted in March, however a week later the province was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many other charitable organizations, Hope’s Home is dealing with a slow down in fundraising efforts.

Mickey MacGillivray, regional fundraising manager at Hope’s Home said her team had to be strategic and creative in coming up with a new fundraising idea that wouldn’t require large crowds or physical contact, so they got a purple hippopotamus for Christmas.

“Really our end goal was to put smiles on people’s faces which is what’s happening with Hope the Hippo,” MacGillivray said.

Hope the Hippo is placed on lawns across the city. People can donate $50 to Hope’s Home to have her moved to another lawn quickly. If they want to choose whose lawn that is, the donation is upped to $100. A $200 donation will grant an individual or business “hippo insurance” which means the Hippo won’t find her way back to their lawn. A $500 donation will get the family or business a shout out on social media.

“The kids are loving it, it’s obviously not just going to families who are going to Hope’s Home it’s all over the community, and people are really loving it,” MacGillivray added.

MacGillivray says she understands if people can’t donate and will give Hope the Hippo a ride to another lawn every day.

“If people don’t want to donate, that’s totally fine, it’s a crazy world we live in and finances can be tough,” She said in an interview on Friday. “We don’t want them to feel obligated and we tell them that.”

Hope the Hippo started her journey in Prince Albert on the lawn of Todd Kulczycki, crowd favourite at this year’s Swinging with the Stars event.

“It’s an interesting, fun way to help a non-profit organization raise money in times where they can’t do their traditional fundraising that they normally would,” Kulczycki said. “It’s pretty creative.”

Kulczycki said his whole family got in on the fun.

“My boys were sad when the hippo left our property and went onto the next. They thought they got to keep the hippo.”

Hope the Hippo began her travels on Monday this week and will continue bouncing around lawns in the city until Dec. 23. The hippo has already travel to eight lawns in Prince Albert.

Affinity Credit Union is matching donations up to $25,000. Between Regina and Prince Albert, Hope’s Home has already received $3,000 since Monday.

“It’s for fun – it’s to raise money, but mostly it’s just to spread a little bit of hope around our city,” MacGillivray said.