At just age three, Chevy Gillespie had never had the opportunity to play street hockey.
But on Monday morning, that all changed. The young child was one of several who had the chance to get into the hockey box with half a dozen Chilliwack Chiefs. And after a little slow stick-handling, he took to it like a duck to water.
The Chiefs and two other boys, brothers Carter and Colin Sine, stood back as Chevy worked the ball around with the stick. They cheered him on, and in less than a minute he took a shot. And from then, it was game on.
The Sines, and young Gillespie were taking part in the annual kick-off of ‘I Care,’ a fundraising project in its second year of operation through Chilliwack Community Services (CCS), the Chilliwack Chiefs and Central elementary school. Families of the school and the surrounding community were invited to the Landing Leisure Centre for a hot breakfast of sausages and pancakes, followed by the street hockey shinny.
The funds raised through I Care will go back to the community through early years programs, including those at CCS’s Central Gateway, Sardis Family Place, and projects like the Starfish Pack program, that sends much-needed groceries out to families every weekend to help make ends meet.
Last year, CCS made a goal to hit $30,000. This year, they are shooting for $50,000 to help toward their overall $600,000 annual fundraising target.
Diane Janzen, executive director of Chilliwack Community Services, says fundraising is integral to everything they do.
“What I Care does is permit us to operate programs in full,” she says. “Many of early years programs receive very little funding.”
Chilliwack Community Services has been operating since 1928, she adds — almost 90 years. It makes them one of the longest-standing organizations in the province, and Janzen says that has only been possible through the support of people and businesses in the community.
“Chilliwack has been very generous in supporting us,” she says.
To donate to I Care, or in general to Chilliwack Community Services, visit them online at www.comserv.bc.ca and click on the Donate Now button. Also watch for I Care toques for sale at Chilliwack Chiefs hockey games.