Despite snow and ugly road conditions in some areas of the Lower Mainland, at least 5,000 JRfm listeners ventured to Langley Events Centre to be entertained and to help the babies.
“We were all shocked at how many people braved the snow to make it out… Listeners were not deterred,” said Terra Paredes, promotions director for JRfm radio and coordinator of JR’s Basics for Babies program.
The Dec. 18 event in Langley generated a record in monetary donations of $54,700 and 7,200 pounds of diapers, formula, wipes, baby food, etc. Paredes explained.
Some of the items donations were given to the Langley Sources Food Bank, while others were shared with the Surrey Food Bank and other smaller food banks in the Lower Mainland.
In the meantime, all cash goes to the Food Banks BC for distribution to qualifying food banks throughout the province.
“The cash donations and the item donations were more than any of our previous single day events. It was a definite success,” Paredes said.
Basics for Babies was started in 1994, when JRfm recognized a chronic shortage of baby products in Lower Mainland food banks.
Since its inception 22 years ago, it has grown exponentially, and has evolved to include one large public fundraising event.
Four years ago now, that event, called Basics for Babies FUNdraising Day, was moved to LEC.
“Five years ago, the charity was really struggling to connect with people,” Paredes explained.
“We were getting fewer and fewer people out to support the events. Seeing the steady stream of donors coming through the doors and the full floor and seats all day long caught me several times,” she said.
“We know how loyal and generous our listeners are, but to see so many get out to support the babies when the weather was trying hard to keep them home felt really, really great.”
Among the day’s highlights, she pointed to a few donations that she found personally moving.
“We had one donor, Steve Hanzlick with Trademark Holdings, who raised $26,640 with his trades and contractors at their Christmas party the night before. Chad Brownlee and Dallas Smith helped him present the money on stage. That was pretty cool,” Paredes said.
They also received a random silent auction donation from someone directly affected by Basics for Babies 20 years ago.
“ She’s now a successful business owner and happily married, and felt it was time to give back. We don’t get to hear those stories very often, because of the stigma surrounding poverty and the need for the food bank. It is heartwarming to see a direct positive result of what we put so much effort and heart into,” said Paredes, who was already talking about plans for next year’s FUNdraising Day.