A trio of community stewards couldn’t sit back and do nothing following the devastating May 19 fires that carved a destructive path through downtown Brandon.
Two fundraising events are slated to take place on Saturday to help some of those people who were impacted by the fires, including Party in the Park and a social at the Victoria Inn’s Imperial Ballroom.
With the fires levelling three buildings and badly damaging the 58-unit Massey Manor housing complex, Jennifer Piwniuk, Sylvia Aeichele and Curtis Clark targeted the complex’s residents as the recipients for their goodwill.
With many of these residents lower-income, Piwniuk said that their stories resonated deepest among the trio of community stewards, allowing them to narrow their focus on helping them.
These residents have been out of their homes since the fire took place, with water having damaged much of the building’s interior and many of the tenants reportedly not carrying renter’s insurance.
The Party in the Park will take place at Optimist Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and consist of various family-friendly activities. While admission is free, certain things like admission to the bouncy castle will be $5 or the donation of a non-perishable food item.
Admission to the social will be $10, with doors opening at 8 p.m. This event will be filled out by a silent auction and various other activities.
Piwniuk said they hope to raise $30,000 on Saturday.
"That’s our goal," she said. "It’s an astronomical one, but the one I’m putting out."
"Dream big, it’s going to be there," Aeichele added.
The proceeds will be divided evenly among the number of occupied units at Massey Manor, whose residents will provide a list of needed items for volunteers to purchase. Piwniuk said that any money left over after these needs are filled would go to Samaritan House Ministries’ food bank program.
Aeichele said children who were evacuated from Massey Manor would not be required to pay for Party at the Park events, which she said would help give them something to do while they’re out of their homes.
This whole endeavour is about "being a kind human," Piwniuk said, adding that planning for these events started when the fire was still burning. "I should hope that if it happened to me that someone would pull together and do this for me."
Early support has been amazing, she said, proving that there are plenty of like-minded community stewards out there.
Piwniuk noted the Brandon Youth Soccer Association’s leadership even rescheduled its own fundraiser in order to accommodate Party in the Park at Optimist Park this weekend.
Social tickets are available at Victoria Inn, Clarion Hotel & Suites, Renewal Therapies and directly through the event’s three organizers.
More information on these events is available through their Facebook events page, "#BrandonStrong fundraiser."
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB