Over the past few weeks, staff, residents and local businesses at Big White Ski Resort have come together to raise more than $20,000 for a variety of organizations providing relief to fire-ravaged Australia.
The support comes as know surprise given that last year Aussies made up 37 per cent of the total staff on the mountain.
On Australia Day on Jan. 26, the mountain raised a total of $1,907 from the $5 sausage sizzle, selling 389 sausages at various locations around the resort with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards the Country Fire Authority (CFA).
The Bullwheel Gastro Family Pub also hosted a fundraiser on Australia Day, raising $745 from sales of their chicken parm and guest beer “The Young & Free,” an Australian sparkling ale from Vice & Virtue Brewing Co.
“Over 75 per cent of our staff are from Australia, with many coming from areas affected by the fires,” said John Mooney, owner of The Bullwheel and Mooney Supply Group.
“They were instrumental in setting up this fundraiser and were the sales people behind our total. Thank you to all who donated or purchased one of these items at The Bullwheel.”
On Saturday, Jan. 25, Big White also pitched in selling 310 toques, with $15 from each toque donated to the CFA. In total the ski resort donated $4,650 and on Jan. 9, the resort raised an additional $8,000 during a trivia night.
In addition, Big White lift workers raised almost $1,400 through a bake sale at Blackforest, which they donated to three separate wildfire-related charities of their choice.
Staff at Globe Tapas and The Blarney Stone Irish Tavern also organized a fundraiser last week which saw almost $6,000 raised in a few hours, all of which was donated to four different charities chosen by the staff. Nearly half of that amount was donated by local Kelowna businessman Justin Bullock of OK Tire on Gray Road in Rutland.
“The charities receiving these funds we’ve raised are so grateful for this outpouring of support from overseas, especially when it’s lead by us, these young travelers who can’t believe what’s been happening back home,” said Ben Cahill, assistant manager at Globe.