A community led fundraiser held Feb. 26, 2022, has succeeded in raising thousands of dollars for four rural Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools (WRPS).
The schools being fundraised for include Pigeon Lake Regional, Lakedell Elementary, Falun Elementary, and Pipestone Elementary School.
When asked by participants why schools were chosen for the fundraising versus a community rink or sports team, event organizer Corey Kozack said that those areas encompass a small portion of the community.
He explained that donating to rural schools in the area is crucial because education is so important and more families can benefit by having more funds for their local school.
“If we do schools that’s 100 per cent us,” said Kozack.
Kozack also said that he wants students of rural schools to have the same opportunities as city schools, including option classes and more, which can only be made available by bigger budgets and more funds.
The annual fundraising poker rally held on Pigeon Lake, renamed the ‘West of the Fifth Winter Poker Run’ this year, raised the bar again with the largest turnout to the event to date this February.
“You could not have custom ordered a better day,” said Kozack.
Over 1,000 participants and 700 vehicles participated in the poker run fundraiser and close to 100 volunteers, including children from the schools being donated to, helped with the day’s activities.
Kozack says that participants came out from all over the County of Wetaskiwin, central Alberta and more—with some travelling from as far as Fort McMurray and Calgary for the day at the lake.
“We had a very good year,” said Kozack. “It was a great day and a good boost for Pigeon Lake.”
“We want to grow this to be the premier winter event for central Alberta.”
Kozack says that the event organizers can’t speak highly enough about the Ma-Me-O and Pigeon Lake community that welcomes events like these with open arms.
The poker run, excluding the 50/50 raised a grand total of $40,744, with $9,361 being donated to each of the four schools, $1,000 to the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department, and $300 to Santa’s Elves (a Christmas charity out of Pigeon Lake).
The 50/50 raised $11,500 from which shares will be divided and shared with the four schools.