With COVID-19 public health guidelines making it challenging (or impossible) to host typical community fundraising events, the Aylmer Optimist Club is launching a new online 50/50 draw to generate money for area projects.
Part of the proceeds will go towards the organization’s Christmas Toy Drive, which distributes free toys to less privileged children in the East Elgin area.
“The need is going to be here this year,” noted Peter Blain of the Aylmer Optimist Club, on the demand for the toy drive. “There’s a lot of people that have still not got back to work, or that have not found work since places have shut down.”
The club’s usual fundraising efforts include a 50/50 draw at the catfish derby in June, a steak barbecue dinner and silent auction in April, and a cruise night for motorcyclists at Cy’s over the summer.
All three were unable to proceed this year due to the pandemic, hurting finances and forcing club members to rethink fundraising events.
Mr. Blain said he got the idea of a virtual 50/50 raffle from a similar fundraiser that took place in his hometown: the Glencoe Agricultural Society raised $366,806 in this manner.
“We opted to go with a one-time 50/50 raffle the first time around to see just how it’s going to work,” said Mr. Blain, noting other organizations hold such events regularly.
The 50/50 draw will open at midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 14 and close on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The winner will be announced at the Aylmer Optimist Club regular meeting that evening at 7 p.m.
The Aylmer Optimist Club partnered with The Lotto Factory Global and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission for the event.
Tickets can be purchased online at aylmeroptimist.thelottofactory.com.
Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express