Sophie Sparrow, with Alouette River Management Society, takes a water sample. THE NEWS/files

Anonymous donor gives $10,000 to ARMS in Maple Ridge

The Alouette River Management Society has 10,000 chances to win the Great Canadian Giving Challenge

The Alouette River Management Society has 10,000 additional chances to win $20,000 for their organization thanks to an anonymous donor.

ARMS launched their campaign for donations Monday, June 1, for the sixth annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge, a national contest through where every dollar donated to a charity in the country will automatically enter that charity into a contest to win an additional $20,000.

The usual donations started rolling in – $25, $50, $100.

But when ARMS staff checked donations on Tuesday, they discovered a single donation for $10,000.

This is the first year that ARMS has jumped on board for this contest, said Sophie Sparrow, spokesperson with ARMS.

READ MORE: ARMS in Maple Ridge chooses new president

They would like to use the money to restore salmon habitat along the South Alouette River while working towards a fish passage.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has changed the dynamic of their work completely, said Sparrow.

They haven’t been able to do any of their spring education, including the spring break eco-camps that ARMS runs.

“That’s a big revenue source for our charity and because we haven’t had that education portion, we’ve really lost a huge chunk of our funds,” noted Sparrow.

The organization has brought in additional funds by applying for government help and campaigns like the adopt a butterfly campaign where children raise butterflies at home.

But they were still forced to layoff their education coordinator and eco-camps supervisor.

Despite the setbacks, the organization has been successful obtaining grants like the TD Friends of the Environment grant for their pollinator program and the Summer Canada Jobs grant to hire four summer students.

And, Sparrow is still hoping they will be able to run a modified version of their summer camps this year in July, but that is still in the planning stages.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge conservation group takes legal action against city

For now, though, Sparrow wants people to be aware that June has become a month of giving because donations typically drop off during the summer months.

“Every dollar counts towards a ballot that could potentially help us out even more,” she added about the challenge.

Last year more than 109,000 Canadians participated in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, donating about $14 million to more than 12,000 charities.

The prize in 2019 was $10,000.

This year CanadaHelps doubled the prize due to the operational challenges charities and undergoing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grand prize draw will take place on Canada Day – July 1.

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