Despite the many challenges and changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the local community, one thing will be still be the same this year — the Children’s Treatment Centre’s Celebrity Walk and Breakfast fundraiser.
The event, slated for Sept. 24 at the Best Western Parkway Inn, will be held as a drive-through breakfast, similar to what the centre organized last year. From 6:30 to 10 a.m., participants will have the chance to receive a free, hot breakfast sandwich and coffee, sponsored by both Best Western and Desjardins.
Although the event’s chair, Milton Ellis, hasn’t set a specific goal for how much he hopes to raise this year, he said he hopes to at least collect the same as last year — just over $172,000.
“We haven’t really set one because of the circumstances,” he said. “People continue to support the centre, although we haven’t been able to have our usual breakfast and speaker. Our committee members are great at going out and encouraging their people.
“Last year, we figured there would be less people willing to help, but our supporters are pretty consistent.”
Although there won’t be any guest speakers this year due to pandemic restrictions, YourTV will be rebroadcasting past courageous and inspirational addresses by adult survivors of child abuse.
Anyone wanting to participate can join one of the celebrity teams and make a personal, tax-deductible donation of $100. Alternatively, they may obtain pledges from colleagues, family, friends or neighbours in order to make up the donation.
To recognize the celebrity status of donors, the Standard-Freeholder will print the name and photo of participants in its annual print campaign.
Since 1996, the centre’s clinical team has provided high-quality counselling services to 2,833 children from 2,448 families. The clinical staff at the centre has continued to provide face-to-face counseling to child abuse victims and their families without interruption, except for a short period of time at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of that very same pandemic, the need for the centre’s services has significantly increased. To meet this need, the organization has augmented its counseling services by 14 hours a week.
“It’s nice to have the personal contact with the people, so the longer you’re away from that, it’s hard to say what the expectations are going to be,” said Ellis. “Hopefully this pandemic will be under control and we’ll be able to get back on a one-on-one basis with speakers and groups.”
Since March 2020, the centre has hosted two fundraisers — the Sponsor of the Day ads and the Celebrity Walk & Breakfast. That’s a far cry from what it usually hosts however. Many of the centre’s events — Bike-A-Thon Plus, Boxing for Change, the dinner and roast, Hockey Road Trip Raffle, and the Charity Auction & Dinner — could not be organized due to the pandemic.
Despite the Bike-A-Thon Plus not being organized last year, that didn’t stop some participants from going ahead and collecting funds anyhow. In all, they raised a whopping $35,700, through sponsorships and personal donations.