By Dale Cory
From barrel racing to cotton candy, the Ponoka Stampede means many things to many people.
For the Ponoka Food Bank, the annual summertime extravaganza means money in the bank.
The Ponoka Stampede Association has presented a cheque for $4,500 to the Ponoka Food Bank, with another $3,500 in cash, plus 300 pounds in food donations, still on its way.
Stampede association president Danny Jones, along with Brad Raugust, who looks after the beer gardens during Stampede Week, and Don Lefwinetz with Encana, which collected the food donations during rodeo and chuckwagon events through the summer, made the presentation to Dean Hill of the Ponoka Food Bank Sept. 15.
“It’s awesome that the community pulls together. We’re very blessed in Ponoka that we’ve got so much support with the stampede board helping us out, along with helping out various other community agencies. This takes a lot of pressure off us and we can run the food bank the way it needs to be run to make sure everybody gets what they need. Nobody goes hungry. There’s always people giving so we’re not running short,” said Hill, who indicates the money will be used in a variety of ways. “Now, if a freezer breaks down, we don’t have to think, where’s the money coming from, because now we have a little bit of extra money on hand.”
A good chunk of the stampede association’s donation came from volunteers who worked the beer gardens on the Friday and Saturday of Stampede Week. Those volunteers contributed their wages, effectively helping out community members who rely on the food bank for survival.
“I think Ponoka Stampede is all about the community, and if you can create some kind of packages that give back to the community, that’s what we are all here for. We’re all volunteers. Ponoka Stampede wants to give back as much as we can, and we’ve got lots of people in the community that need help,” said Jones, who passes on credit for this initiative to the hard working volunteers. “Volunteers have made the Ponoka Stampede what it is, and this just gives them some recognition, because there’s so many of them who do give all of their time during that 10 days. When they can see what they are actually putting back in the community, it’s a good way of measuring things.”
If you would like to donate to the Ponoka Food Bank, call 403-783-5910.