Free pizza for a year donated by Boston Pizza. Submitted photo

Free pizza for a year donated by Boston Pizza. Submitted photo

Funds raised through ‘Santa’s Bids For Kids’ a testimony to local support

Raised close to $19,000 in three days

The community of Ponoka came together to enjoy the excitement of bidding with Santa’s Bids For Kids online fundraiser, heartily raising about $19,000 through the three-day event. The funds raised will support the Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Ponoka.

“This year went very very well. It is our second year of hosting the auction and it far exceeded our expectations. There were 97 items in the Ponoka auction. We do not have our totals in yet, but we will be about one thousand short of our goal of $20,000,” said Beth Reitz, executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ponoka and Rimbey.

“We are so very grateful to our community. They are always too supportive and giving to us. The result of this auction is a testimony to that,” she added.

Some items that were open to bidding until Dec. 6 include Oilers jerseys, a travel voucher from WestJet, gift baskets from local businesses and a weekend getaway at Fantasyland Hotel.

The online fundraiser was conducted in partnership with Ponoka Youth Centre, Boys and Girls Club Wolf Creek-Ponoka, Wolf Creek Youth Foundation, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ponoka.

“Due to COVID-19, we were not able to host some of our larger in-person events. The online fundraiser was a way to still raise funds but comply with the COVID-19 restrictions,” said Reitz.

While event operations were similar to last year’s, there was much greater community support witnessed this year.

“We were able to get more donations this year as businesses were more familiar with what we were doing. We also found that people were really excited in anticipation of it this year. They couldn’t wait to bid and we had over 19,000 views on the site in the three days it was going,” said Reitz.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ponoka hope to conduct regular fundraising starting in 2022. Several fundraisers have been cancelled or altered since the onset of the pandemic, said Reitz.

“We are hoping to be able to return to some in-person fundraising in 2022.

“We hope it continues to grow into an event people really look forward to and enjoy participating in.

“A huge thank you to all of our donors and auction winners,” said Reitz.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ponoka is currently working on launching a new fundraiser called Koins For Kids. Visit their Facebook page for events and updates.