Red Deer business holds ‘virtual garden party’ and raises money for charity

While many businesses are starting to re-open, others have managed to stay open by offering curbside pickups, deliveries, or online shopping. But whether they’ve been open or closed, there’s still one thing that Red Deer businesses have in common – their generosity.

Kim Fox of RE/MAX Real Estate decided to respond to the pandemic by brightening our community with flowers and funds. The “Virtual Garden Party” was born out of a desire to provide donations that would benefit local charities and residents.

“We wanted to get the money out there as quickly as possible,” she said.

Scotiabank immediately stepped up with volunteers and payment system support, allowing the Virtual Garden Party to sell over 300 plants and raise $4,200. Kim is now working with the United Way and Red Deer Community Foundation to receive matching funds from the AB Government COVID Emergency Response Fund grant matching program.

Even though they are facing their own set of challenges, Red Deer businesses have also continued to step up and support local non-profit organizations, who have had to cancel or quickly adapt their annual fundraisers.

After 37 years, Youth HQ was recently faced with the challenge of moving their annual Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser to an online format. Originally “Bowl for Kids,” and now in the fifth year of “The Big Pursuit,” this is the primary fundraiser to support community-based programs and in-school mentoring programs for BBBS. With a list of 74 children waiting for a caring adult mentor, canceling was not an option.

The in-person event was adapted as a Virtual Scavenger Hunt, with unique event checkpoints featuring curated videos from several local businesses and community supporters. Prizes were awarded at the closing ceremonies, held by Facebook Live on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Facebook Page, with prizes donated by local businesses.

With the help of Red Deer businesses such as presenting sponsor SERVUS Credit Union, as well as the Red Deer Firefighters Children’s Charity, Melcor Developments, BIG 105, the Piper Creek Optimist Club, Prairie Bus Lines, and The Quality Inn, they were able to raise $36,000 this year.

Historically, this came close to their annual fundraising goal.

“We’re very pleased with the level of success we achieved due to the present challenges we all face” said Rob Lewis, Executive Director of Youth HQ.

“We honestly couldn’t run this event every year without the incredible partnership with our friends from SERVUS,” he said.

SERVUS not only sponsors the event, but also provides volunteers, raises funds, and participates in the event.

Youth HQ is looking at other virtual events, including a volunteer recruitment campaign and additional fundraising campaigns.

City of Red Deer