Thursday, 25 January 2018 05:01

Acadia Valley comes up big: fundraiser raises over $150K

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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A scene from the Acadia Valley fundraiser where the community hall was full. A scene from the Acadia Valley fundraiser where the community hall was full. Contributed

A fundraiser held last Saturday to assist those in the MD of Acadia and RM of Chesterfield who were impacted by the October wildfires by far exceeded expectations of organizers. It was a true example of what rural residents can accomplish when they pull together.

The Wildfire Relief fundraiser, held Jan. 20 at the Acadia Valley Community Hall raised more than $150,000 to help those who lost property and cattle.
“It went superbly and beat all of our expectations,” said Brent Williams, CAO for the MD of Acadia was part of the organizing committee for the Wildfire Relief fundraiser. “Everyone stepped up, opened their hearts and opened their cheque books.”
From the auctions and draws at the event, $113,760 was raised and $37,700 has been raised (at press time) in cash donations, for a total of $151,460, with more coming in from people who were unable to attend. About 200 people packed the hall and attended the fundraiser.
"Acadia Valley has a population of 140 and the MD has 493 residents, so this is pretty incredible for our small communities," he said.
Businesses across the region were also generous in their donations for the live and silent auctions.
"The response from the businesses has been incredible, and not just the local businesses," said Williams, noting that contributions came in from across southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan communities.
How the funds will be divvied up is dependent on how much damage the landowner sustained to his property or herd. Notices were sent out to all affected landowners to find out if they wanted to receive from the fundraising efforts and how much damage they sustained on their properties.
"From the ones who responded, we're going to dole out the money on a percentage based on their losses because some lost more than others," said Williams. "There is no perfect way to do it, but we have to be as fair as possible."
Williams is hoping now the Alberta provincial government will do its part in helping the people in Acadia Valley’s municipal district.
"This community and all of our regional communities have really come together to help out. I think the community has done their part, with donations from fencing supplies, labour, and even cattle," he said. "Now, we are hoping the government will step up and do their part. We don't expect them to solve everything, but when these events that are beyond comprehension happen and impact people like this has, they need to help out."

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