People take part in the Optimist Club of Chilliwack ‘Circles of Friends Dance’ fundraiser at the Evergreen Hall in 2017. The inaugural Car Rally poker run plus silent and online auctions have replaced this year’s dance to help bring in money for local families with children. (Optimist Club of Chilliwack/ Facebook)

New COVID-friendly poker event replaces Optimist Club of Chilliwack dance fundraiser

Upcoming all-ages Car Rally poker run to bring in funds for local families with children

The Optimist Club of Chilliwack is switching gears for its next fundraiser.

Cars and poker will replace dancing in the new fundraiser on Sept. 12 for the local service club which helps children.

The club typically hosts its annual ‘Circles of Friends Dance’ fundraiser at the Evergreen Hall near the end of each year.

“We would raise around $20,000 annually at the event in donations, food, and toys to help local families,” said Optimist Club of Chilliwack Glenda Standeven. “Now we have to find ways to replace those funds because the need is definitely still there.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, folks are now invited to drive around Chilliwack and Abbotsford collecting cards to build their best poker hand in the inaugural, family-friendly Car Rally poker run.

“We want to provide a family friendly activity and also make it interesting for the adult participants,” Standeven added. “We chose six locations between Chilliwack and Abbotsford that many people might never have visited before and, at the same time, we will raise much-needed funds for local kids.”

The poker run stops are all located at small, local businesses. Participants get a card at each location they go to.

People will have to pre-register for the event and there is a maximum of 50 vehicles allowed to participate. The cost is $50 per poker sheet. After driving to the locations, people have the option of buying up to two more cards at $20 each.

Check-in for the Car Rally poker run is at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Landing Sports Centre and those participating must return by 3 p.m.

There will also be door prizes and a silent auction at the check-in location. People do not have to register to take part in the silent auction, it is open to everyone.

Envision Credit Union sponsored the event which has allowed the Optimist Club of Chilliwack to give the winner of the rally a $250 prize.

The club will also be hosting an online Facebook auction this month, which is scheduled to be up and running by Sept. 7. To participate, bidders must request to join the Optimist Club of Chilliwack Auction group on Facebook.

Many organizations, businesses and individuals have provided donations of cash, merchandise, and gift cards for door prizes at the rally or to put in the online auction.

All of the funds raised from both the Car Rally, and the online and silent auctions will go to local families and children in need.

“One of our favourite club projects is putting Christmas hampers together which include clothes and toys for the kids and all the essentials to restock the cupboards,” said president Fred Webber. “These are challenging times and the needs of our community have never been greater. The funds raised from these two events will help make Christmas a lot brighter for some very deserving families in our community.”

To register for the Car Rally poker run, email with “Car Rally” in the subject line. Funds may be paid by cheque, cash, or etransfer and are non-refundable.

RELATED: Talented teens win big in Chilliwack Optimist songwriting contest

RELATED: Fraser Valley golfers tee off in Chilliwack Optimist Fred Wellsby tournament


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