Organizers of the Children’s Treatment Centre’s Celebrity Walk and Breakfast are running the annual fundraiser in a new way due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A drive-through breakfast, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 16 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Best Western in Cornwall, will replace the traditional kickoff breakfast featuring a guest speaker usually held at the Cornwall Civic Complex. Holding to the spirit of the kickoff breakfast, YourTV will rebroadcast the addresses from previous guest speakers.
“This is our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Milton Ellis, chair of the Celebrity Walk and Breakfast Committee.
An average of $150,000 is typically raised through the event, whose founding sponsor is the Standard-Freeholder. Over 500 people usually attend the kickoff breakfast, after which team captains get down to the business of soliciting team members and donations.. Interested participants are encouraged to still join a celebrity team and make a personal, tax-deductible donation of $100. Alternatively, you can obtain small pledges from colleagues, family, friends, or neighbours to make up the $100.
Those fundraising celebrities then have their photos featured alongside their teammates in the pages of the Standard-Freeholder’s print editions throughout the fall.
“By being a donor, in the eyes of the children, they are celebrities,” said Ellis.
The CTC is a community based and community-supported agency committed to the prevention and treatment of child abuse in Cornwall, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and Akwesasne. It provides complimentary assessment and treatment to any child in need, and that child’s family.
“We certainly would like to see the demand go down for this type of thing, but unfortunately it does not go away,” said Ellis. “Hopefully over the years, with education in the community, it will get better.
“This provides counseling for the children so they can lead a productive life. They should have a happy future and shouldn’t have these like this hanging over their head.”
Like it has with many charities and non-profits, the pandemic has made fundraising difficult. Traditional annual events have been cancelled or severely cut back due to restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one place. Virtual events have popped up to replace some of these fundraisers, but not all have raised the same amount as in previous years.
Earlier this year, the centre’s Bike-a-Thon Plus, which usually brings in around $150,000, was cancelled. While many people who traditionally participate in that event did find ways to raise some money and donate, the amounts could not match prior years. The centre also often hosts a roast in the fall, which has been cancelled this year.
Boxing for Change, which has grown from an amateur boxing tournament and dinner with a guest speaker to an annual must-attend for fans of professional boxing, was initially pushed back to September, but has also now been wiped off the 2020 calendar and rescheduled for 2021.
The centre itself was closed for several months, reopening for in-person counselling following all pandemic protocols in June. A new counsellor was hired to support the demand, while the centre’s executive director trimmed his working hours to part-time.
To start a celebrity team, or join one, contact the centre at 613-933-4400 and leave a message; someone will return your call to provide further information.