Italian Cultural Society president Tony Fantillo (far left) and other members of the club present a cheque from the club to Campbell River Hospice Society executive director Louise Daviduck this week. The money was raised at the club’s annual Miracle Beach Italian Picnic. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River Italian Cultural Society chooses hospice for annual picnic donation

Miracle Beach event is the club’s major fundraiser each year, raising almost $30K in 22 years

The Campbell River Italian Cultural Society (ICS) has once again taken the money it’s raised at its annual picnic and given it back to serve the community.

Earlier this week, club president Tony Fantillo and other members of the society joined members of the Campbell River Hospice Society at their offices on Evergreen Road to hear about some of the services they offer their clients and present them with a cheque to help out.

“We like to fundraise throughout the year to support local organizations doing good work in the community,” Fantillo says.

The club’s main fundraiser each year is its annual picnic at Miracle Beach – complete with homemade sausages and spaghetti. The event has raised almost $30,000 over its 22 years of fun that has gone back into programs and organizations within the community.

“We poll the membership and see where everyone thinks the money should go, and it goes to the directors and it goes from there,” Fantillo says. “This is the second time we’ve decided to support the hospice.”

RELATED: Italian Cultural Society continues its giving ways

The club has around 120 members, but they’re always looking for more.

“You don’t have to be Italian,” Fantillo says with a laugh. “It’s for everyone. We celebrate Italian culture, but anyone can do that, especially if they like to eat. We have Italian evenings where we play cards and play Tombola – which is Italian bingo – we have Italian Christmas, we do bocce tournaments, all kinds of stuff.”

Hospice executive director Louise Daviduck asked the club if they had an idea of what they’d like the society to put the donation towards, saying “any donor, when they donate to any organization, if they’d like to designate their funds to go to a specific place within that organization, they have that choice,” she says, before outlining some of the programs and services they offer for Fantillo and the other members of the ICS to think about supporting. After some consideration, the club decided just to let the money go wherever the hospice society thinks it’s needed most.

But while the ICS donation to the hospice doesn’t have a specific purpose – like buying or funding a particular resource for the organization to add to its arsenal – Daviduck says it will definitely get put to good use.

“Our administrative costs are really low, so at least they know it will be going towards supporting the services we offer here rather than into administrative costs,” Daviduck says. “We’re at about 92 per cent volunteer and eight per cent paid staff.”

She adds that the organization has similar funding ratios to its staffing ratios in that only about seven per cent of their operation is funded by government sources, “and the rest is funded through the thrift store and community support like this, so I’d just like to say thank you very much.”

For more information on the ICS, contact Fantillo by email at or Gino at 250-923-6301.

For more information on the Campbell River Hospice Society and the services they offer, visit or call them at 250-286-1121.

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