Buy a donut or bring a bottle to help the West Niagara army cadets get back on their feet

Krispy Creme donuts Buy donuts from volunteers and take your empties to held them raise funds Saturday.

The West Niagara Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps need help getting back on their feet amidst the COVID-19 pandemic so volunteers are running a fundraiser Saturday.

The Bottle Drive and Donut Fundraiser will help raise money to cover the cost of activities, training, supplies, and rent for the West Niagara cadets, who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The event is being held Saturday, at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 612 in Beamsville from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Support committee volunteers will be there to take your empties or sell you a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts.  

“2020 has been a tough year for our small Corps as several large fundraisers were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The fundraiser is a unique way for us to offer a stop and drop option for those that might be interested in participating in the bottle drive or purchasing a dozen donuts or perhaps both,” said Kerry Mellor, Treasurer of the 1626 Support Committee.

“Our corps relies heavily on private sponsorship and fundraising activities. That’s why it’s really important for us to do what we can and all of us love doing it,” she added.

In addition to the cancelled fundraisers, the cadets lost their home base due to COVID-related concerns and were forced to find a new location.

“We lost our home, so then we had to try to find a home for these kids and nobody would welcome us. We were offered a space, but at a higher cost… but it was one of those things where we had to do this or we would have had to fold or these kids (the cadets) would have had nothing,” said Mellor.

COVID has also forced the cadets to move many of their events and activities to online.

“It’s changed the way the staff has had to teach the children. Everything is virtual, it’s been virtual since March, it is getting back to face-to-face, but it is costly,” said Mellor.

Moving activities online may also present some challenges. “Some of these kids don’t have computers, or access to a good internet connection to attend some of the online training, so it would be nice to be able to offer better internet and audio-visuals so they could do more of the virtual learning.”

In the long term, the support committee would like to find a permanent location for the cadets after the 2020-2021 term is over. They would also like to purchase mountain bikes for the cadets to bike through the Bruce Trail in the future.

“We would love to become more self-sufficient, which we would like to do when we find our forever home,” said Mellor.

1626 West Niagara Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps. is a unit of The Royal Canadian Army Cadets (RCACC) that services the communities of West Niagara including Grimsby, Beamsville, Smithville, and surrounding areas. The RCACC is an outdoor-oriented program for children and teenagers looking to learn new skills and connect to their Canadian heritage through events such as camping, trekking, mountain biking, and more.