CanoeFM is donating $50,988 to five local charities after record-breaking fundraising numbers from its radio bingo program in the past six months.
Station manager, Roxanne Casey, said they raised more than $100,000 in that time, the highest total since it began. Half will go to CanoeFM, while the other half will be split amongst donation recipients, with $10,000 each going to Fuel for Warmth, the Central East Heat Bank and Minden Community Food Centre, and $10,494 each to the Abbey Retreat Centre and the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library.
Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., CanoeFM reads out bingo numbers, with cash prizes on the line. Casey said the pandemic has contributed to the event’s greater popularity, with the station selling 736 sheets this past week, more than double this time last year.
“Radio bingo became almost like a household word,” Casey said. “It’s just become like a fun thing to do and you don’t need to go anywhere to do it.”
The fundraising runs in six-month intervals, based on the lottery licence. The January-June 2020 period raised approximately $63,550, with half that going to Minden Community Food Centre. But Casey said with dollars rising, it made sense to start sharing the wealth.
“COVID hits people really hard, so we felt it was really important to make sure we were supporting those organizations,” Casey said.
Fuel for Warmth executive director, Joanne Barnes, said the donation is greatly appreciated.
“I was so surprised to be given such a lovely donation of funds … It will certainly allow us to assist more families in need,” Barnes said. “I give my most sincere thanks for the money, but also for the trust of the community who recognize our commitment.”
Casey said the funding is also a boost on the radio side, allowing them to cover broadcasting expenses such as equipment and licencing fees. However, the money is disallowed for operational expenses. She said she expects the game to keep its popularity.
“The next run will be as good, if not better,” Casey said. “People are not going anywhere. They’re still at home and it gives them something to do. Even once this is over, I think it will still carry on.
“We really appreciate people supporting radio bingo.”
Tickets are available at the station or grocery and convenience stores throughout the County.
Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander