The lucky rubber duckies ready to go for the first draw to support the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team. (Facebook)

The lucky rubber duckies ready to go for the first draw to support the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team. (Facebook)

Lucky duck draw to support Okanagan animal response team

The last draw will take place before April 23

After a tough year for the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT), they’re looking to some lucky ducks to give them a fundraising boost.

The fundraiser is the idea of and work of West Kelownans Natasha Rose, who trained as a volunteer with ALERT, and organizer Jana Fraser.

“We have a group that we’re a part of, and we’re in craft shows together that we haven’t been able to be in this year,” said Fraser. “Natasha had the idea after her training, and she thought it was a great charity that not many people know is around in the Okanagan.”

Fraser had planned events for other charity events in the past, as well as organizing trade and craft shows.

Taking that experience, the two have put together something new; a fundraising lucky duck draw. The ducks, each numbered, will end up in a pool for the draw, which will be held live on Facebook.

The first few draws are expected to be done over the weekend, with all of the draws finished by April 23.

To enter, all a person needs to do is go to the ALERT – Lucky Duck Prize Draws Fundraiser Facebook page, scroll through the list of draws and leave a comment on the draw they want to enter.

Unlike a usual fundraiser, none of the draw items were donated. Fraser and Rose are buying them all from local businesses.

“We did that because it’s really not the time to be asking businesses for donations when people are hurting right now,” said Fraser. “Yes, you don’t make as much than when they’re donated, so it makes it a little more challenging that way, but it’s a way of helping businesses around here too.”

There are a number of gift cards, as well as a fire pit, for example, that will be able to be shipped to wherever the winner lives.

READ MORE: Okanagan animal response team wants to help you prep for wildfire season

Due to the need to purchase the items being raffled, the pair has set a modest goal of around $1,500 for the 15 to 20 draws they end up holding.

The proceeds from the fundraiser go to support ALERT, which has volunteers across the Okanagan.

ALERT volunteers respond to disasters and emergencies when domestic animals are in need of rescue and shelter, with volunteers who can head out and pick up animals that were left behind during an evacuation.

During instances when people are evacuated, they also work with foster families and other organizations including the Desert Park in Osoyoos and Green Mountain Equestrian in Penticton to host pets and displaced domestic livestock.

They also offer to cover services for cremation for animals who die during an emergency such as a house or wildfire.

Usually, ALERT holds other fundraisers during the year that were unable to run due to COVID-19, such as their December Cookie Walk baking sale.

“The walk usually brings $3,000,” said Debora McBride, ALERT’s director of operations. “We’re looking at $5,000 for just insurance alone, and then we have upkeep and maintenance costs too.”

Last year they had also planned to participate in Summerland’s ActionFest, a beer-and-burger night and their annual pet-wash at Bosley’s, but all were forced to be canceled due to the pandemic.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the Community Foundations of the South Okanagan and Central Okanagan do provide some support to ALERT.

“We’ve been around since 1994, but it’s the first time we’ve really been able to support our volunteers, even communication with Emergency Support Services and Emergency Operations Centres is so important.”

The draws are open until all tickets for a particular draw are sold, but those interested are advised to keep checking back in case payment for a person who previously bought a ticket doesn’t go through.

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