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Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie hosting calendar fundraiser

Article Written by Paul Forsyth, a reporter with Niagara this Week. He can be reached at pforsyth@niagarathisweek.com.


In The Photos: Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie client Rose Morgan holds one of the association’s calendars that are available. Each day in the month of September, prizes will be drawn from among ticket holders. - Brain Injury Association


You might want to mark down an upcoming fundraiser by the Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie on your calendar.


It won’t be difficult to do so, because the fundraiser is in fact a calendar.


Faced with significant financial challenges, the association that helps people and their families who are affected by acquired brain injuries, brain diseases and disorders to live as fully as possible has launched a novel way to raise funds by offering participants who purchase month-long calendars in August 30 different chances to win some nifty prizes by purchasing a single ticket.


Each day of the month, a draw will be made for a wide variety of prizes culminating in the grand prize draw on the last day of the month for flights for two people by WestJet to anywhere that the carrier flies — a package worth upwards of $4,200.


But don’t worry if you had your eye on those flight tickets and you win an earlier prize.

“If you win a prize your ticket goes right back in,” said Betty Talbot, treasurer of the association board. “You get 30 chances to win for $10.”


The association provides case management, vocational and life skills programming to people and their families in Fort Erie and south Niagara and is one of the few remaining brain injury associations in Ontario providing day programming.


Case management and vocational services run the gamut from medical care and rehabilitation to co-ordination of multiple service providers, government funding applications, help with disability and other support programs, family counselling and support, and help with police, legal and insurance matters.


The association also helps clients obtain voluntary and paid work placements.

The association serves at least 130 families on an ongoing basis, and families relying on the association tend to do so for many years: statistics show the average caregiver is a 65-to 70-year-old mother who has cared for her brain-injured child for an average of 23 years.

But Talbot said the association receives no regular government funding and must raise 100 per cent of its operating budget through sources such as volunteers working at Delta bingo — which the association gets a cut of the proceeds from — as well as fundraising events and third-party fundraisers.


Like many non-profit agencies, the association is facing stiff financial pressure. Talbot said the agency needs to by the end of the year pay back $40,000 in emergency financial aid it got from the federal government during the pandemic when bingo operations were shuttered. If the association fails to repay that money — substantially more than the association can usually raise in a year — that financial commitment will increase by another $20,000, said Talbot.


But she said the association was recently informed by the Town of Fort Erie that due to rules, bingo proceeds can’t go toward paying that off.

“We have to find a new source, “ said Talbot. “It’s ludicrous to think a non-profit can pay all that back in 12 months when we’re just recovering” from the pandemic.

Efforts to fundraise are compounded by competing fundraising efforts such as the push for a Hospice Niagara expansion in the town and campaigns by other community agencies, said Talbot.


Among the many prizes up for grabs in the new calendar fundraiser are a $100 prize from the Niagara Clifton Group, wine packages worth $100, $100 Keg restaurant card, Niagara River Lion and Niagara Ice Dogs tickets, and Visa gift cards.

Tickets for the calendars are available via email at talbotbetty278@gmail.com, by calling 905-871-7789 or by e-transfer to biafeoffice@gmail.com.


The association is also hosting a “Dine to Donate” gala steak dinner on Oct. 1 at the Fort Erie Golf Club with live entertainment by the Parkway Blues Band. Tickets are $30 each or a VIP table of eight for $750. For tickets email biafeoffice@gmail.com or call Talbot at 905-871-9904.


Article Written by Paul Forsyth, a reporter with Niagara this Week. He can be reached at pforsyth@niagarathisweek.com.

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