Despite the bitter cold, last year’s Parade of Lights was a financial success.
The 15th annual Thunder Bay Police Association’s Parade of Lights raised a total of $19,663, which will be evenly distributed between four charities.
Greg Stephenson, parade chair and police association president, said the 2013 parade, which took place on Dec. 7, raised more than 2012. It did that despite windchills that made it feel colder than -30C.
“We actually beat last year’s total by $350 so considering the coldness it’s a little more difficult for our walkers to get in touch with people because a lot of them are in their vehicles trying to stay warm,” Stephenson said at the formal cheque presentation at the Balmoral Street police station on Tuesday.
The four charities receiving the funds are the Thunder Bay chapters of Autism Ontario and Special Olympics Ontario, along with the George Jeffrey Children’s Foundation and the Thunder Bay Therapeutic Riding Association.
In addition to the funds, the exposure each organization receives from the Parade of Lights, which attracts thousands of people, is very beneficial to their cause.
“It helps indicate to families that we’re present here in Thunder Bay and district and we’re here to support families the best we can,” said Dana Larrett, fundraising coordinator with the Thunder Bay chapter of Autism Ontario.
“We utilize the funds that are raised to support event planning and programs for families like social learning opportunities and anything we derive that our individuals and families can have success with.”
The involvement of many of the 60 trucks participating in the parade was not merely limited to travelling the route.
Especially with the cold, a significant source of the fundraising came courtesy of the companies that were represented with their brightly lit vehicles.
“All of our entry forms have a pledge sheet with them and a lot collect money from their co-workers and others. All of that is above and beyond the money they spend on decorations, fuel and the time they put in,” Stephenson said.
“We wouldn’t have a parade if it wasn’t for them and all of the other volunteers.”
The 2014 parade is scheduled for Dec. 6.
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