HAMIOTA — Acres for Hamiota volunteers were in the field Sept. 7 clearing the organization’s first-ever fundraising crop.
Acres for Hamiota chairperson Travis Brooks said the fundraiser came together quickly.
“It’s been pretty exciting just to see the support we’ve got from the community,” Brooks said. “Once we announced what we were doing, people were calling wondering how they could help or what they could do. Anybody we asked offered to help right away.”
Brooks expects the project will raise more than $40,000, which will be used to fund different projects and organizations in Hamiota.
The Hamiota Fire Department received the first donation — $10,000 to purchase a three-quarter-ton truck that can pull a STARS Air Ambulance fuel trailer, or to pull a trailer and side-by-side to fight grass fires.
“We’re very excited about that,” Brooks said. “It’s going to save a lot of time and it could be the difference in somebody’s life one day.”
When STARS comes to the Hamiota area, the organization needs to drop off medical staff to refuel at Shoal Lake, as they don’t have enough fuel to return to Winnipeg. The trailer will allow them to fuel up on-site.
A local family made an anonymous donation for the purchase of the fuel trailer.
Fire Chief Josh Currah was grateful for Acres for Hamiota’s support.
The three-quarter-ton truck will be essential in pulling the much-needed STARS fuel tank. He added recently acquired emergency equipment for the department will also require the use of the truck to get to emergency scenes.
The fire department set a fundraising goal of $35,000 and hopes to see funds continue to grow.
The Acres for Hamiota board formed about seven months ago. The initiative was proposed by community member Leeann Haggarty, who was inspired by similar fundraising projects in Westman.
After engaging with farmers in the area, Brooks said, he was greeted with enthusiasm and interest in the project.
Eight members — five farmers, one retail representative and two non-farmers — sit on the board. They met throughout the winter and the plans for the harvest quickly came together.
The project spanned one quarter-section and featured Brandon wheat. Brooks praised farmer Neil Mathison, who rented the section to Acres for Hamiota, ultimately helping the project get off the ground.
The official harvest day took place on Sept. 7 and saw combines, grain carts, trucks and 10 farmers come together to reap the section. Brooks added he appreciated the many farmers who donated their time and resources from seeding to harvest.
Acres for Hamiota marked the celebration with a community lunch in the field.
Community members were also able to participate in an acre sponsorship for $100 per acre. The money was used to purchase inputs for the field and served as a way for non-farmers to participate in the project. The sponsor-an-acre program is still accepting donations.
Seed, chemical and local retail companies also donated products.
In total, about 70 to 80 per cent of the input costs were donated for the crop.
An application process is available from Acres for Hamiota allowing different organizations and initiatives to apply for funding from the crop. The board will decide how funds are allocated.
Brooks said he is grateful to the community for getting behind the project and is excited to see what the future brings.
“As soon as we said we wanted to do this, we had people coming to us asking how they could help,” Brooks said. “We’re getting more and more momentum and more and more donations. It’s going to lead to a more successful project.”
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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun