We're going to go out on a limb and say that most fundraising events - no matter what the cause - fizzle out before they hit the 10-year mark. It's hard to maintain momentum, you know? Unless, of course, you're the Richmond Auto Mall, who hosted their 10th Annual Windows of Hope fundraiser on Tuesday. The event just seems to get better with age - more painted windows, more volunteers, and yes, more money raised for the Richmond Christmas Fund. Volunteer writer Amanda Oye, who's covered Windows of Hope before, was there again this year, and offers this account of one of the Christmas Fund's most memorable nights.
The sight of hundreds of volunteers busily working at night to paint some Christmas cheer on the windows of car dealerships at the Richmond Auto Mall is a sure sign that the holiday season is upon us.
For the 10th year, car dealerships at the Richmond Auto Mall have sponsored windows for the mall’s annual Windows of Hope fundraiser, benefiting the Richmond Christmas Fund.
“We wanted to create a unique event that would support the Richmond Christmas Fund,” said Gail Terry, general manager of the Richmond Auto Mall. “The overwhelming support of the event from the community is heartwarming. It’s the real spirit of Christmas.”
Over 200 volunteers came out last Tuesday to help paint, while prior to that many more had taken the time to clean and stencil the windows so that everything was ready.
|The Steveston-London Secondary School Art Club at Windows of Hope, held Tuesday, November 26, at the Richmond Auto Mall. Photo by Sid Akselrod |
“The number of volunteers has been amazing,” said Terry. In fact, there were so many people who wanted to participate this year that there was a waitlist.
Among the groups who got lucky and managed to nab spot was Target. Despite their busy schedule settling into their new location and getting ready for the holidays, the company still managed to send over a group of excited volunteers to help out.
“We thought this is such a great cause,” said Maggie Chung, executive team leader at Target. “We were so happy they were able to take us in.”
Being new to the community, this was the team’s first time out to Windows of Hope, and they were definitely impressed. “We didn’t know how elaborate it is,” Chung said.
While this is Target’s first year out, many of the groups have made it an annual tradition to help paint windows at the Auto Mall. Steveston-London’s art club, for instance, has been coming out for five years now.
“Our club loves to do community work,” said Sid Akselrod, Steveston-London Secondary teacher and head of the school’s arts club. “There’s this desire to get out and use their skills in a way that will help other people.”
The club is a unique part of the fundraiser, as theirs is the only window that is not stenciled beforehand. Instead, each student who participates contributes to the creation of an overall image, which is then stenciled on by the students themselves on the day of the event. “These guys really love doing art and this is a huge canvas,” Akselrod said. “They are very talented, absolutely fearless.”
Windows of Hope is the Christmas Fund’s biggest fundraiser, raising $24,000 last year alone.
There were 22 windows that were painted this year at the various dealerships at the Auto Mall.
Before heading out to paint, each volunteer received reindeer antlers and a red Windows of Hope t-shirt. Along with their painting supplies and other goodies, the groups were given helpful tips and full encouragement to be as creative as they wanted.
You can head down to the Auto Mall and see the finished windows now throughout December.