Sports clubs faced difficult challenges when COVID-19 hit Prince Albert, and those struggles extend to fundraisers looking to raise donations so more kids can play.
KidSport Prince Albert committee member Dwight Bergstrom said public health orders have forced them to cancel a few regular fundraising events, but fortunately two of their most successful ones will still go ahead this week as usual.
The organization’s annual can and bottle drive runs Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday, Bergstrom returns to his familiar perch for the annual Scissor Lift Challenge.
If the organization receives at least $8,000 in pledges by 6 p.m. on Thursday, Bergstrom will spend the entire night on the scissor lift.
“I dreamt it up, so I think I’m going to be doing it until I die,” Bergstrom said with a chuckle during a phone interview.
“Last year was our biggest year. It’s been growing every year, so we’re just hoping people will remember us again and give us a hand.”
The Scissor Lift Challenge raise roughly $12,000 in 2020, while the can and bottle drive brought in around $8,000.
Bergstrom said the bottle drive tally was a welcome surprise, since they only expected around $4,000. He said they benefited from SARCAN temporarily closing its doors during the pandemic, which led to an unexpected windfall for KidSport.
“There was quite a back-up (of cans and bottles) in peoples’ homes and workplaces that they wanted to get rid of, so it went over the top,” Bergstrom explained. “We thought originally if we could make a couple thousand bucks, it would be good, and we made $8,000. That’s a pretty good two-days work.
“We’re hoping that people have still got stuff piled up. I don’t know whether we’ll see quite the volume come through, because SARCAN has been open continuously, so we may see our numbers go down, but we still feel it’s certainly a worthwhile project. Whatever we make, we’ll be quite happy with.”
In a typical year, KidSport provides funding for around 320 kids per year, which amounts to around $240,000 in total donations. Bergstrom said those numbers decreased in 2020, since COVID-19 forced a number of youth sports leagues to suspend operations, but the pandemic also hit KidSport fundraising hard too. That’s going to make it difficult to answer all the applications they receive if sports return to normal in the fall.
“We’ve got to be prepared for those kinds of numbers, so we’ve always got fundraising in the back of our minds,” Bergstrom said. “If we run out of money, we just can’t approve applications that come in.”
Residents can drop off cans and bottles at either TJ’s Pizza or Propaganda on 15th Street East in Prince Albert. Drop off time is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents can receive a coupon from TJ’s for every bag of cans and bottles donated. Monetary donations can be made at kidsportdonations.ca.
The Scissor Lift Challenge takes place on Sept. 9 at Dr. Java’s in Prince Albert. Donations can be made from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bergstrom said 100 per cent of donations will go towards paying sports registration fees for Prince Albert youth.
“It’s a great cause (and) a simple one,” he said. “There’s not a bunch of money eaten up in administration costs or anything like that. People bring in $30 for the cans, there’s $30 going to kids. We’ve had some $500 donations come in already for the scissor lift. If you donate $500, then $500 hits the ground where the kids are. That’s the nice thing about this program.”