This past weekend saw the return of Bowl for Kids Sake, the biggest fundraiser of the year for Pembina Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The event was postponed for the past three years due to the pandemic. Only a few teams failed to show up due to the weather
Executive Director Jenelle Neufeld says they were very excited to be back at the bowling alley, and the turnout was good despite the wind and snow.
"This event raises funds by our sponsorship levels. We have event sponsors, lane sponsors, team sponsors, and prize sponsors, and then individuals can also enter teams. Then we also have a silent auction and 50/50 [raffle]."
As of interview time on Saturday, Neufeld said donations were already sitting at about $21,000 including in-kind donations. "You know, anything that we can pull in considering the fundraising climate that we're in right now and post-pandemic, we are absolutely thrilled with."
Brad Pool was the leader of Team RBC.
"Youth and youth mentoring is a key strategic support of our company. But Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Pembina Valley has been a huge help to youth in the area for a number of years and an organization that we really support heavily. It's a chance to have a great time with some of your friends that you work with. We bowl a serious game and we bowl a game for fun. We get to have a few laughs and enjoy each other's company for a couple of hours."
After a three-year absence, this one was extra special said, Neufeld.
"This event is our biggest fundraiser. It always has been. We strategically place it in March because our fiscal year ends at the end of March. So this is our last big push to get our funds in and make sure that we're hitting all of our bottom lines with our budget. Some years are better than others, but this year we're just really excited to be back. It wasn't so much about the numbers - just being in person, getting together again, and seeing everybody is just great."
For the first time in the event's history, Bowl for Kids was held at VB's Entertainment Centre in Winkler.
Neufeld says all their fundraising efforts go back into the community through programs such as Teen Mentoring.