After 31 years, the local RCMP’s key fundraising event — Klondike Night — is donating its last shekels.
The annual event attracts more than 1,000 people to the RCMP’s headquarters in St. John's. Since 1983 it has raised $857,300 for 43 charities throughout the province.
The plan was to quit after last year — the 30th year of the event, says Helen Cleary-Escott, the RCMP’s senior communications strategist.
“Then we decided if we go one more year we could bring it up to the $1-million mark,” she says. “Then we could say Klondike Night has raised $1 million for the charities of the province.”
They’re aiming to raise $86,000 this year to bring the Klondike Night total — including other funds raised at the event — to more than $1 million.
The annual event is something the members of the RCMP love, Cleary-Escott says. However, it’s an annual event for 1,500 people and a lot of the key players involved have retired.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” she says, adding that Klondike Night is unique among all the RCMP divisions.
“They all have charity events, but nothing as big and as successful as Klondike Night, so it is pretty special.”
Even with the event’s last hurrah looming, Cleary-Escott says it won’t likely be the end of the division’s charity events. The future might not hold anything as extravagant as a night for 1,500 people, but something will likely materialize, she says.
Each year, the money from Klondike Night is sent to a different charity. Charities have to apply by explaining what the money is for and certain criteria have to be met for them to qualify.
“We always tried to put it around the RCMP’s core values,” Cleary-Escott says, using youth as an example.
This year, the two beneficiary charities are Candlelighters and Children’s Wish Foundation.
The Candlelighters is an organization that supports children affected by cancer. It will use the Klondike Night donation to run its eight-day Camp Delight for oncology kids aged 7-17 and their siblings.
The Children’s Wish Foundation grants wishes to ill children and their families.
Even the coat-check revenue at Klondike Night gets dished out to a smaller youth charity. MacDonald Drive Beavers and Cubs will use this year’s revenue to help build the new Macdonald Drive Elementary playground.
Cleary-Escott says they are actively looking for prize donations of $100 and less. Prizes can be donated through any RCMP employee or by contacting Cleary-Escott at RCMP headquarters at 100 East White Hill Rd.
The RCMP Klondike Night is Friday, May 9 and is open to the public.