The pending arrival of the Tour De Rock Cops For Cancer cyclists marks the end of another year of hard work for the 49th Parallel Grocery Store staff. It also means all that hard work is about to culminate in another huge payoff.
A total of $34,000 was raised last year from the ongoing 49th Parallel Garage Sale and Ron Neubauer, area manager for 49th Parallel, expects the proceeds will be even higher this year. Overall, the venture has raised a remarkable $117,644 for the charity since 2005.
“The whole thing is a team effort,” said Neubauer. “It’s everybody that donates stuff and the people that purchase the stuff. A lot of stuff that gets donated is from word of mouth. We wouldn’t be able to do any of it if it wasn’t for the town of Chemainus.
“Special thanks to my family, my fellow employees and also my friends for all the help.”
The motivation to go above and beyond the call of duty doesn’t require much explanation.
“I just can’t imagine having a kid with cancer, what they’re going through,” Neubauer indicated.
The garage sale that helps kids with cancer to attend Camp Goodtimes has gone through an interesting history. It’s been held in the parking lot of the 49th Parallel store, the back garage of the old store and even in Neubauer’s yard a couple of times.
“Basically, wherever it was easiest for us to move things,” Neubauer pointed out.
It now has a permanent location at the General Store near the ferry terminal after the new store opened in October 2013 in the Village Square complex.
“When the new one was built, we redid this store a couple of times,” explained Neubauer. “We set it up inside the store.”
The storing of garage sale items over the years has also proved interesting. No possible space was left unoccupied, including Neubauer’s carport and the basement of the old store.
The items kept coming in from donors and going right back out with purchasers throughout the year.
“The people that donate stuff, it’s phenomenal,” enthused Neubauer.
The purchases are meticulously tracked.
“We’ve got a separate button for that,” said Neubauer. “We tally everything up. We make one donation.”
The tally also includes such things as hot dog sales and the next big donation will be unveiled at the Tour de Rock breakfast in Chemainus on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 3.
In the meantime, individual donations keep coming in and there’s also a raffle at the General Store where people can place their piece of paper in front of an item for a chance to win it.
The stories, the help from unexpected sources and more keep the 49th team going for the Tour de Rock team.
Geordie, Lucy and Grace Lavigne made badges to sell and also had a table set up during the Giant Market Day in Chemainus selling goods, with 25 per cent of the proceeds going to Cops For Cancer.
“These kids touch my heart the way they presented it and for what they did,” noted Neubauer.
Knowing they’re making a difference keeps the 49th crew digging a little deeper each time.
A letter Neubauer received from the Canadian Cancer Society pertaining to the 2015 fundraising put everything in perspective. The money raised that year was enough to send seven kids to Camp Goodtimes.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Neubauer said. “All of us are touched by cancer.”
It’s always a lot of work, but well worth it.
“It’s been the people who’ve come and talked to me and told me their stories,” pointed out Neubauer. “It has kept it going. It really has.”