Warren Bedell and Jason Wheeldon (left) announce the results of the Turkey Drive alongside Nancy Lemire, Major Kirk Green and Gerry Oviatt during a Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday, Dec 12.

Turkey Drive raises $58,000 for Christmas hampers

A team of community volunteers smashed the fundraising goal by raising $58,000 for the Turkey Drive, which will go towards Christmas hamper programs run by the Salvation Army and Cranbrook Food Bank Society.

The announcement was made during a Chamber of Commerce meeting, which featured a keynote address from Major Kirk Green of the Salvation Army, who spoke about the spirit of giving.

Representatives from both the Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank Society were on hand to accept the donation.

Nancy Lemire, with the Salvation Army, said she was ‘blown away’ by the support, which will be used for Christmas Hampers that are distributed to clients.

“I interview every one of these people in need and I look them in the eye and we have a 20 minute conversation about their life,” Lemire told the crowd. “I can’t thank you enough for helping these people that I interview; these folks are going to have a wonderful Christmas dinner, warmth in the morning, gifts…we just can’t thank you enough.”

Gerry Oviatt with the Cranbrook Food Bank Society was similarly grateful.

“We just really appreciate what the community has come together and done for the Food Bank and Salvation Army,” he said. “It sure helps us out throughout the year. It’s just so wonderful to see every year the way the community comes together, so thank you guys very much.”

Over half of the money raised this year came in from pre-pledges, while the rest came in over the phone lines and drop ins to the Chamber office on the day of the Turkey Drive on Dec. 6.

A team of volunteers, playfully dubbed ‘Little Pluckers’ collected pledges to raise the money, with the so-called ‘Mother Plucker’ Karin Penner once again taking the top fundraising honour for the fourth time to earn the coveted Turkey Platter.

“Thank you again to everybody who donated and supported all of us,” said Jason Wheeldon.

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