Despite a drastic cut in resources this year, Fleet Diving Unit Pacific’s annual Turkey Run still managed to raise over $20,000 for the West Shore Christmas Hamper Fund.
The result means every family that receives a hamper this holiday season will also have a turkey on the table as part of their holiday feast.
The accomplishment is all the more impressive considering the unit, part of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, had a month to regroup after their regular main event, a 35-kilometre run through Langford and Colwood, was cancelled.
Fundraising plans hit a roadblock this year when West Shore RCMP was forced to pull their traffic support for the run due to budget restrictions, having allocated extra resources to security after separate targeted attacks saw two military members killed in Ottawa and Quebec in October.
Instead, the fleet diving unit held a barbecue at Millstream Village on Saturday in partnership with Everything Wine, with volunteers cycling on stationary bikes and others canvassing the crowd for donations. And on Sunday, nearly 70 people took to the track at Belmont secondary to do a relay style run, with participants switching off as they tired.
“We didn’t have that beginning-to-finish goal, so we had a group of people running all day,” said Walter Dubeau, one of the founders of the Turkey Run and a training officer for the diving unit.
“I’m very proud of the girls and guys at the fleet diving unit here. If I didn’t have all these people, this event wouldn’t happen.”
The community has been extremely supportive of the event since its inception five years ago, he added.
“We put it out there and everybody stepped up and got it going. We raise the money, but they give it. I have a list of over 50 businesses that gave us donations for the Turkey Run.”
The event has raised $97,870 over the last five years, and there’s still time for the unit to break the $100,000 threshold; they’re accepting donations until Jan. 1.
Dubeau’s drive to make a difference in the community is palpable, and contagious. “Come and join us!” he exclaimed. “The more people participate and join in, the better this thing is going to be.”
For more information or to make a donation, email him at email@example.com, or drop off cash donations to the Goldstream Food Bank, 761 Station Ave., and specify the donation is for the Turkey Run.