The concern and generosity of a group of Salmon Arm businesswomen made for an evening of tears and joy for Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue Society owner Carly Marchand-Jones.
On Sept. 20, the Shuswap Women Who Wine held their 5th Community Giving Event at the Harpur Family Farm. During the event, attendees received presentations from representatives of three non-profit groups: the Shuswap Family Centre, the South Canoe Outdoor School and Freedom’s Gate. Following the presentations, the attendees, who donate $100 each, decide by secret ballot which of the groups will receive 80 per cent of the money raised. The remaining 20 per cent is split between the two other groups.
Organizer Kailee Ramsell said $6,200 was raised, with $4,960 going to Marchand-Jones and Freedom’s Gate. The Shuswap Family Centre and South Canoe Outdoor School received $620 each.
Marchand-Jones said the money will be put towards an accessibility project that was pitched during the event.
“We’re going to use it towards doing some groundwork to make the property more accessible for children and seniors and people with mobility issues. So it’s a huge benefit to us, the horses and the community,” said a grateful Marchand-Jones.
Asked how her presentation went, Marchand-Jones described the experience as “overwhelming.”
“I am horrible at public speaking, and as soon as it was my turn to go up I just started crying,” said Marchand-Jones. “I said, ‘Sorry ladies, one minute.’ I had to regain my composure and then speak again.
“What I do, I’m so emotionally involved in, it’s really hard for me. I knew no matter what, we were getting something that evening… I was just overwhelmed with the whole thought that other people saw the value in what I’m doing.”
Marchand-Jones said it is great how this group of local businesswomen comes together to recognize, celebrate and support the different not-for-profit organizations working in the Shuswap. For her, it was just another example of how people in the region are quick to step up and help those in need.
Marchand-Jones says her next project will be providing a public washroom so that Freedom’s Gate can host school field trips.