Last Thursday was the final push for donations to the Chamber of Commerce's annual Turkey Drive. Pictured above: David D. Hull

Last Thursday was the final push for donations to the Chamber of Commerce's annual Turkey Drive. Pictured above: David D. Hull

Turkey Drive shatters record, raises $47,000

Money raised will go to Salvation Army and Food Bank for Christmas Hamper program.

  • Dec. 10, 2015 10:00 a.m.

For the Townsman

The citizens of Cranbrook have risen to new heights of generosity and support this year setting a record with $47,600 being donated to the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce Turkey Drive from over 600 individual donors.

The Turkey Drive culminated with a one day finale Thursday, December 03 that saw the Chamber office flooded with celebrity pledgers working the phones to bring in support for the Salvation Army and Cranbrook Food Bank hamper programs.

“Last year we sent an unprecedented record at $42,000,” said Head Turkey Jason Wheeldon. “We set what we thought was a realistic goal this year of $28,000 given the economy in the area. I am blown away with the final number and the level of support.

“This year’s record setting number will go a long way to taking the pressure off the Cranbrook Food Bank and the Salvation Army for December. The need is year round and if for one month the business community can come together and help then it is worthwhile.”

The Head Turkey said the success of the Chamber Turkey Drive would not be possible without the tireless efforts of his Little Pluckers.

“These are a group of well-known locals from different sectors that work their contact lists with vigour.  The collective efforts of the Little Pluckers is what creates our success,” Wheeldon said.

The top fundraiser is recognized as Chief Turkey Winner.  This year former Chamber manager Karin Penner was presented with the coveted turkey mirror trophy for her efforts in soliciting $9890 in donations.  In a close second was Plucker Chris Thom at $9575.

“While many Pluckers were bringing in hundreds of dollars at a go Karin brought in a multitude of twenty dollar donations at a time.  She was absolutely remarkable,” said Wheeldon.

Penner was presented with the Turkey Platter, recognizing her for her fundraising efforts as one of the top Little Pluckers.

“I just want to say how thrilled I am, not to win, but how thrilled I am to live in this community,” said Penner, as she addressed members of the Chamber of Commerce at a monthly luncheon on Wednesday. “Every $20 counts and I am thrilled to be able to say, ‘You did it, Cranbrook’ and that we can help our neighbours.”

Major Kirk Green of the Salvation Army was visibly emotional as Wheeldon presented cheques to him and Gerry Oviatt, the president of the Cranbrook Food Bank Society.

“I want to say thank you and I want to say that this will not only pay for Christmas, it will do a lot for the rest of the year,” Green said. “As much as we get accolades during the christmas season—the Food Bank and ourselves—for doing what we do, you folks are the heroes of the community.”

Added Oviatt: “They did a wonderful job this year, I mean $47,000 is just amazing to come out of this community and we just so muchly appreciate it. Like Major Kirk said there, this carries us on way past Christmas.”

The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce organizes and facilitates the Turkey Drive ensuring that 100% of the monies donated goes to the two charities. The Chamber absorbs the processing fees for credit card, debit and on line purchases in addition to staffing as their contribution to the Turkey Drive.