The launch event for Penticton’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march brought in $8,700 — more than double the funds raised in the same event last year.
The event, a dinner with draws and auctions, sold all 125 tickets to the Earls patio Friday evening, according to organizer Diane Fru, who said the event raised $8,746.11.
“I’m grateful,” Fru said. “I may help spearhead this thing, but I didn’t donate the money. I mean, if it wasn’t for … the people who bought tickets, if it wasn’t for the people who donated and it wasn’t for people being very open with their wallets and stuff like that, it would never have happened.”
That $8,700 raised at Earls Walks For You hit well over double the money raised at the kick-off event last year, which raised around $3,700. The money will be going toward the running total for the Walk a Mile event, the annual fundraiser for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.
With the money raised at Earls, the annual fundraiser has made over $11,000 — nearly half of its $25,000 goal. The money goes toward SOWINS, which provides a variety of services for women in need, including a youth bed and services for victims of abuse.
On top of raising thousands of dollars, Fru said the event was a lot of fun for those who attended.
“They said it was an absolute hoot,” Fru said. “People just phoned me on Saturday, and I was down at SOWINS today, just taking the money down, and they said it was a lot of fun. And that was the way it should be. When people have fun, they’re very, very kind.”
SOWINS executive director Debbie Scarborough called the event a success from the beginning.
“So, the energy is amazing. The music is good, the food is good, the drink is good and the people are good,” said Scarborough, who is ranked as the walk’s highest individual fundraiser at $600.
That topped the next highest fundraiser by $150, while Earls’ team total of $8,746 beat the next highest team — Scarborough’s “A-Team” — by nearly $7,700.
That money came from ticket sales, a silent auction, a live auction and a reverse draw, among others, but Fru said there were also some unplanned donations.
“A guy from the audience, this wasn’t planned, and he just got up there and put on a pair of red shoes and said, ‘You know, I’ll dance for you with some music if you make some donations,’” Fru said. “So he got up and danced in these ridiculous red high-heel shoes, had lots of fun doing it and raised some money.”
With the walk set to run on July 7, there’s still some fundraising to be done to meet their goal, and with a little over half of the way to the goal, Fru said from experience she’s not worried about hitting the goal.
“People are last minute, so, personally, I think we’ll do better than $25,000,” Fru said.