The Chamber of Commerce turkey drive “shattered” its record of last year, say organizers. The turkey drive is a fundraiser that provides financial support to both the Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank’s Christmas Hamper program.
“It was the best year ever,” said Jason Wheeldon, turkey chair. “I think there’s something special in the air this year for it. We shattered last year’s record. Last year was a record at $27,000 and we shattered it.”
That lead to the Chicken Dance on the strip on Thursday afternoon.
“That challenge started out if we beat last year’s record I was going to do it on my own,” he said. “If we shattered it, then everyone was going to jump out there with me.”
And that’s what happened.
Wheeldon said the team was great this year. There was a core group of 10-12 people that pulled together and worked on the campaign.
“It was a really good team, and a really good response from the community.”
He said they were also trying to make it a special event for outgoing Chamber president Karen Penner’s last year.
“People are now aware of the turkey drive and the needs it addresses,” he said. “So rather than phoning and having to explain what it’s for and what it is, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, put me down for four,’ or ‘put me down for one.'”
He said another thing they noticed was a lot of young people coming through the door with $20 pledges.
“Everyone pulled together as a community.”
The turkey drive began five years ago when the Wheeldons were about to leave on holidays.
“My wife had heard on the radio that they didn’t have enough turkeys to meet the demand,” Wheeldon said.
He went down tot he Chamber in the morning and talked to the staff about it, and they all jumped on the phones to make calls to people.
“We raised the need in three hours,” he said.
Then when they spoke with the Salvation Army and the Food Bank they recognized that the need was there every year and it wasn’t going to be going away.
“so we’ve carried on with that tradition and it gets better every year,” he said.