Last night was Trilliant Real Estate Group’s ninth Trees 4 Treasures fundraiser. From 4 – 7 p.m., people could come by, give a donation of any amount to The Outreach Centre’s, Adopt-a-Family program and take a tree home. Whether the donation was $5 or $5000, Trilliant matched the donation. This year’s fundraising effort is still waiting for a few donations but the count is currently at $7,620.
Speaking of the of the growth of the fundraiser over the years, Trilliant owner Pat Garritty said,
“It was just something that evolved over the first couple of years and we just wanted to give back…and we wanted to do it on a little bit bigger scale but we still wanted to be meaningful and have an opportunity to see our clients at a really cool time of year.”
Trilliant purchased the trees from Canadian Tire and had them leaning against the walls just outside the office for people to come pick up.
“They were very,very nice to us. They’re beautiful trees,” Garritty said of the partner that works with the real estate group to make the fundraiser happen.
“Since the inception of this event, we’ve helped over 340 kids have Christmas. That means a lot to us,” Garritty said.
The funds are used in an anonymous fashion so families don’t know who is donating to contribute to their holiday.
“They don’t know who we are and they don’t know where the money came from and that’s what we like about it,” Garritty stated.
Darcy Ouellet, Fund Development Officer for The Outreach Centre was at the event and shared how the centre uses twenty different programs to support families dealing with domestic violence, homelessness and poverty. The Adopt-a-Family Program has been running for about seventeen years and matches sponsors with single-parent families for Christmas.
Families can come into The Outreach Centre to apply for the program and if they qualify for the Adopt-a-Family Program, they are matched with a donor who supplies the funds for things like a holiday meal, presents and a tree.
“It’s tough thing for some families, especially in this economic time for families that a year ago were making six figures a year and this year haven’t worked in a year,” Ouellet said.
Sponsors never know who their family is. They only know them by their first names Ouellet said. He elaborated further by saying that if a donor family asks to sponsor a family in a community similar to theirs, he will match them up with another community but not their own. So a donor in Sylvan Lake might be matched up with a family in Eckville but not in Sylvan Lake. The intention is to protect the privacy of the family receiving the donation. Ouellet stressed this point and said he wants to give families as much pride as possible.
“Our intention isn’t to embarrass or make someone feel belittled. Our intention is to help them so it’s just one less thing they have to worry about,” he continued.
Ouellet has noticed how challenging it can be specifically for single dads to come into the centre, especially when the centre is typically associated with women’s outreach.
“There’s a reason the building is called The Outreach Centre.” said Ouellet. “It’s more inviting to our male clients.”
Ouellet said many of the families who have been helped by the Adopt-a-Family program come back once they’re on their feet again and choose to pay it forward by sponsoring a family who needs the support .
The grand total raised over the past nine years is $55,000 which Garritty equates to 445 children receiving Christmas.