Connect First Credit Union donated $1396 to the Wheatland Crisis Society (WCS)! The money was raised through an auction of Ducks Unlimited prints which were previously hanging in the office.

Connect First Branch Manager Shawndra Bodkin explained the Credit Union got painted and redecorated, and with that they weren't going to hang their prints anymore. Rather than letting it collect dust in a closet, Bodkin wanted to put the photos to good use.

"We're all about our community, we're all about our members we're all about our communities that we live in, that's that's what it's all about," Bodkin said. 

Starting in September, the Connect First put out a different print for silent auction every week, and the community stepped up to make sizable donations for the WCS.

"Thanks to the residents of Strathmore that come in and our members and Connect First Credit Union, almost $1400 is headed straight to the Wheatland Crisis society."

With the success of this event and Connect First wanting to contribute to the community, Bodkin expects to continue making donations to charities. 

"As long as I'm here, we'll be holding all sorts of different events. I like to be creative and organize events and do things like that. We're planning on doing a barbecue in the summer, and like all sorts of things. It's going to be a good year 2023, it'll be great." 

WCS's Business Development and Communications Specialist Natasha Fyfe is grateful for the large donation, and also appreciates the creativity behind this fund raiser.

"The creativeness that came from this fundraiser was spectacular. It's really nice to see them take those (the prints) off the walls, auction them off with no reserve bids on any of these prints, and have these prints stay in the community. I think that was the biggest thing for me was that these prints are going to stay locally, and then the money that was given for the prints was donated to the shelter," Fyfe said.

Fyfe explained donations like this are really important to the WCS since their government funding hasn't changed since 2015, and with inflation and the rising cost of living it's been near impossible to operate based off of that alone. However, the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters recently spoke up about these shelters needing more funding, which has Fyfe hopeful that they may be getting a much needed increase in government funding.

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