Hampton House residents rest after walking on the spot for half an hour during their Toonies for the Trail fundraiser on July 10, 2020. Lois Comerford (right) takes part in the annual fundraiser. (Tracey McDonald)

COVID-19 doesn’t stop Chilliwack seniors from raising money for Trans Canada Trail

Hampton House’s annual outdoor Toonies for the Trail fundraiser brought inside this year

The residents of a Chilliwack retirement home were busy raising money last Friday for the Trans Canada Trail even though their annual outdoor fundraiser took place inside this year.

Normally, around this time each year, the seniors at Chartwell Hampton House have their Toonies for the Trail fundraiser where they walk along the Trans Canada Trail at McDonald Park in Abbotsford.

This year they turned it into a “walk on the spot” event, said Tracey McDonald, lifestyle and programs manager at Hampton House.

For half an hour about 25 residents stepped to the beat of different songs, ending with the Chicken Dance.

They were tired by the end, McDonald said.

This was the fifth annual Toonies for the Trail. It stemmed from Hampton House’s “moments that matter” initiative where residents share a wish with the staff that they hope to have fulfilled.

It was former residents Geoff and Joan Hodgkinson who approached staff and said they wished to walk the Trans Canada Trail as a family – as the Hampton House family.

Their wish was granted and funds have been raised for the trail every year since.

This year the residents brought in $540. That amount will be matched by Trans Canada Trail donor, Jack Cockwell, for a total of $1,080 raised. Each year, Cockwell matches every donation made within a certain period each summer, making it one of Trans Canada Trail’s biggest fundraising campaigns.

Toonies for the Trail is one of three fundraisers the folks at the retirement home take on every year. They also raise money for cancer research with their Silver Fox Block Walk for the Terry Fox Foundation, and they have an ongoing baby baskets fundraiser where residents donate money and hand-knitted baby hats and clothes to Chilliwack Community Services throughout the year.

“We’re still going to raise money for the non-profits because they need us,” McDonald said.

The July 10 Toonies for the Trail was also one of McDonald’s weekly ‘Freaky Friday’ events where every week she brings a unique themed day to the seniors. Over the past few months during the pandemic Freaky Fridays have featured pyjama day, flip flop day and banana split day.

“The seniors are alive and well and this COVID hasn’t gotten us down,” McDonald said. “They have been having a good time, all things considered.”


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