When Quadra Island’s Claire Wearing saw what was happening in her former adopted home country of Australia, she knew she needed to do something to help.
So she made a couple of phone calls, sent a couple of Facebook messages, and started putting together a fundraiser, which will be held this coming Saturday at the Quadra Legion.
“I’ve got lots of good friends in Australia, and I spent two years there working and doing a lot of volunteer work,” she says. “It’s just a really amazing country and it’s horrible what’s happening to it – all the animals suffering and the people losing their homes.”
Even though it’s happening half a world away, she says it’s a situation that really hits home for people here.
“It really resonates for people here in B.C., I think,” she says. “I mean, we deal with brush fires and wildfires here all the time, too, and there are so many people here that are being affected by the ones in Australia, as well. Either they’ve got family there or they know someone who’s volunteered gone over to help fight the fires, so it really feels like people want to help, for a lot of reasons.”
She says she didn’t know what the benefit event would look like when she started making calls, but it’s sort of taken over her life since she started planning it, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It just kind of happened,” she says with a laugh. “I thought, initially, maybe we could just do a garage sale, and then we thought we’d do a raffle, too, and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger. Now I’ve got prizes donated from lots of the businesses over here on Quadra, and would love to get some more from Campbell River, but I don’t really know too many people there, so I haven’t really been able to ask around.”
But when Alex Witcombe of Drifted Creations said he’d make a custom piece to raffle off at the event, she knew it was about to become something special.
“It was so amazing when he said he’d make a custom piece for us,” Wearing says. “I’m pretty sure that’s going to generate a lot of interest.”
In terms of what the event itself will look like, Wearing says it’ll be a drop-in, leave-when-you-want, casual kind of affair rather than a formal presentation or dinner.
“We’ll have tables of bake sale items and a pretty big garage sale now, it looks like,” she says. “I think I’m going to have to wrangle up some more tables now that I’m seeing the level of interest. There’ll be face painting for the kids and some other activities, as well, but it just depends on how much time I have to put things together. It’s free entry – although there will be a donation bin at the door if people want to help out, and it’ll be a lot of fun with people just getting together as a community for a great cause.”
Speaking of the cause, Wearing says she wanted to raise money for charities that were possibly being overlooked by people contributing to various GoFundMe campaigns and other major fundraising efforts being done.
“Initially I was going to have it raise money for one of the major charities, but once I saw how much money was already going that way, and the various celebrity endorsements and all that, I felt like I wanted to help the underdog charities, because I knew they probably weren’t getting as much help.”
One of those charities is Wildhaven St. Andrews, a one-woman-run animal shelter on the outskirts of Victoria who lost her facility – and all the animals in her care – to wildfire 10 years ago and has been rebuilding ever since.
The other charity she’s selected is the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association.
Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each or three for $12 on the day of the event, or through a PayPal link available on the event page “Australia Wildfire Relief Fundraiser Market” for those who can’t make it on Saturday. Ticket holders don’t need to be present at the event to win a prize, but they’d miss out on all the fun, Wearing says.
Contact Waring directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message her through Facebook for more information or if you’d like to donate a raffle prize for the event.