The 100 Mile House Community Club is counting on its upcoming Ten Thousand Villages fundraiser to give them a financial boost after a sluggish year due to COVID-19.
The club, a non-profit society that owns and operates the 100 Mile Community Hall, is facing “dire straits” after the pandemic shut down its weekly bingo nights and halted the usual Christmas parties, dinners and other events that typically pad its coffers every year and help to maintain operations, club secretary Elaine Saunders said.
The hall is typically booked from every weekend in September to the end of January. Although the club did rent it out for the South Cariboo Farmers’ Market and the recent B.C. election, there is nothing booked after the Ten Thousand Villages fundraiser slated for Nov. 19-22.
“We’re in dire straits for financial help because due to COVID everything has been cancelled,” said Saunders. “We’re not in the red yet because of the B.C. election. That rental from that has kept us in the black for a few more months but nothing’s coming up. We’re looking at a long winter ahead.”
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Club vice-president Linda Jefferson said the Ten Thousand Villages fundraiser is anticipated to be the major fundraiser this year. Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit fair trade organization that markets handcrafted products made by disadvantaged artisans from more than 120 artisan groups in 35 countries.
The second annual event will feature a conglomerate of items using local materials (usually natural or recycled), ranging from food to clothing, kids’ toys, kitchen items and baskets. Last year, it carried about $80,000 worth of retail items. Every purchase improves the lives of the makers by supporting their craft and providing an income.
Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place this year, including the mandatory use of masks, physical distancing and limiting visitors to a maximum of 25 people at one time.
“That will be a money-maker for us because we take a percentage of the profits,” Saunders said.
The club is seeking to raise enough money to replace the roof and insulation in the hall, which was built in 1956 and has not had any upgrades since 1985. The community club has received a grant from the Cariboo Regional District but is seeking more grants and donations because it’s not enough to cover the $72,000 in repairs.
The club is also looking at new ways to bring in revenue, Saunders said. Kindergym has restarted in the hall on a smaller scale, while the club is also offering internet services – at $10 per hour – every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and promoting local businesses to encourage people to Shop Local on its website. Those who wish to donate can also do so on the club’s website at 100milecommunityhall.ca.