Quesnel RCMP officers made several stops in the community Monday, Dec. 7, but these stops brought big smiles and lots of gratitude instead of fear or concern, as they dropped off donations from their first Stuff a Cruiser fundraising campaign.
The RCMP collected donations of cash, winter clothing, toys, food and hygiene products Dec. 5 and 6 outside the West Park Mall. Over the two days, police officers rang the bell for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign and collected food for the Salvation Army food bank and for the Seniors Living Society and collected toys and winter clothing for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel (BBBSQ).
The campaign inspired many individuals and companies.
Active Rent-All brought a large utility trailer full of new toys to the West Park Mall Saturday, Dec. 5.
The company usually sponsors a lot of events for children and youth, and with so many of those activities cancelled, Active Rent-All came up with a new way to help kids in the community.
“This year, we were just looking to do something different,” said owner Mark Sauve. “We’ve never done Big Brothers Big Sisters before, and we thought if any year is a good year to, this is a really good year. We always like to sponsor kids, whether it’s kids’ sports or events — kids have a piece of our heart.”
Sauve is grateful to his staff.
“They all had a part in this,” he said. “It was excellent.”
Lil’ Red Pony Feed and Supplies, with help from sales representatives from Anipet Animal Supplies, Canadian Naturals, Petcurean, Firstmate and Jamieson Pet, donated 225 pounds of dog food, 50 pounds of cat food, dog beds, cat scratchers, dog toys, bones and canned food, along with toques and shirts from the store, to the Stuff a Cruiser campaign Sunday, Dec. 6.
After two days, the campaign raised 2,453 pounds of food for the Salvation Army and the Senior’s Voice Society, an 8’x16’ trailer full of 500 individual toys for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel and $3,764.05 in cash and $400 in gift cards for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign.
RCMP members dropped off many of the donations Monday, Dec. 7.
At the Salvation Army, RCMP members brought a pickup truck filled with nearly 2,000 pounds of food, hygiene products and diapers for the food bank.
“I appreciate it so much,” family service worker Elaine Schonke said as she helped carry the food inside.
Const. Matt McGregor, who initiated the campaign in Quesnel, says Stuff a Cruiser will be an annual event for the RCMP and the community.
McGregor was thrilled with the response to the campaign.
“I was just really, really happy with the outcome,” he said. “Everyone came together in a pretty awesome way. Everyone was really happy, and everyone reached deep. I’m just ecstatic.”
Monday afternoon, the RCMP brought a trailer full of toys to BBBSQ.
The executive director of BBBSQ, Sarah Thompson, was amazed by the large donation.
“I think something like this is amazing, not only for our kids at Christmas, but we can share this out in the community,” she said, noting they have a lot of contact with places like Amata House, and if there are any children staying there right now, they would love to help make their Christmas a special one.
BBBSQ offers a variety of programs in the community, which will directly benefit from this donation, including traditional one-on-one mentoring, adult in-school mentoring, teen in-school mentoring, Go Girls, Kids in Motion, and Game On.
Thompson says this donation can also help them in their programs throughout the year, not just right now for Christmas. Because BBBSQ can’t gather for group activities like they normally would, new board games, puzzles and other activities included in this donation can be used to help their members bring some fun home to their families.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters can’t continue to do what we do without the ongoing support of people in Quesnel and organizations like this,” said Thompson. “It’s huge. COVID-19 has been hard on everybody, and seeing this generosity has been wonderful.”
The Quesnel RCMP would like to thank West Park Mall for the use of their parking lot, Active Rent-All, who donated an enclosed trailer for the event and donated another trailer full of toys, and the RCMP office staff who volunteered their time to help with the event.