Shawn Christie says the United Way of Thunder Bay’s annual Great Billboard Rescue is a well-oiled fundraising machine.
But just because it runs smoothly every year – it’s raised $140,000 or more each of the past five years – doesn’t mean they can take their biggest one-day event of the year for granted.
On Friday the organization launched this year’s event, slated for May 15 at Lowerys’ Central Avenue location.
Up to 30 teams are expected to start the drive early in 2014, each team member trying to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the cause.
Those who don’t manage to collect that much ahead of time are hoisted high in the sky on a scissor lift on the Billboard Rescue day, cell phones in hand, and can’t come down until the target is hit.
“This thing’s been going on for 22 years and it’s a train that just keeps on going,” said Christie, the long-time event chairman.
“We’re just going to keep raising the roof. We’re going to keep trying to raise as much money as possible.”
Christie added familiarity – and helping out a cause that affects one in three people in the city – is why the Great Billboard Rescue is so successful.
“It’s a household name. These people are coming out year after year, tirelessly putting all their time and effort into raising money. And they key is that money stays right here in Thunder Bay,” Christie said.
While the event has enjoyed enormous participation rates over the years, United Way communications director Kristy Pochailo said there’s always room for more.
It’s a fun-filled day, she added, where many teams dress up and bring banners.
There are prizes for the top three fundraising teams, and for each $500 an individual raises, their name will be entered into a prize draw.
The public can also come out on event day and celebrate with a charity barbecue between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
For more information, phone 626-1759 or email email@example.com to sign up.
You can also connect via Twitter, @uwaytbay.
Follow Leith Dunick on Twitter: @LeithDunick
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