The Cook family of Port Alberni raises funds every year for the Alberni Athletic Hall. With the way COVID-19 has changed everything this year, the family decided to broaden its fundraising efforts and make a donation where it is most needed—helping families with COVID-19 relief.
“We raised over $7,000 but we’re spreading the funds throughout the community,” patriarch Jeff Cook said. Cook, his brother and sister-in-law Jack and Debra, daughter Sherri and other family members brought several buggies and hockey bags filled with goods to the Port Alberni Salvation Army last week as part of their donation.
The family raffled a television for the Port Alberni Toy Run, donating $1,500 raised back to the Toy Run. They had a number of items raffled off, such as televisions, an Apple Watch, tablet, power tools, cash and a $1,000 Brick gift card, to name a few. The family usually holds a golf tournament every year, but changed the event to a raffle when the tourney became impossible to host.
The annual fundraiser is a way for the next generation of Cooks to give back to their community, Sherri Cook explained. Sherri and her sister Hazel, who lives in Alert Bay, spent more than $2,400 of the money raised to purchase household items, pyjamas, warm clothings, children’s toys and gifts suitable for teenagers—all donated to the Salvation Army for its Angel Tree and other programs.
“For my sister and I, all our parents went to residential school, so we know what humble beginnings are. We have been fortunate that our Cook family has been (focused) on education, being independent, being self-reliant. It’s time for us to give back now,” Sherri said.
“It hit us extremely hard with COVID-19 that there are so many people—we struggle too, but we don’t struggle as much as other people do.”
The Cooks raised $7,134.05. “We had people buying raffle tickets from Port Simpson (Lax Kw’alaams, near Prince Rupert) all the way down to Victoria,” Sherri Cook said.
Aside from the buggies full of items they dropped off at the Salvation Army, they donated $500 to the Athletic Hall Society and also helped two families with children dealing with cancer diagnoses: the White family in Nanaimo and the Prest family in Port Alberni. Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society will also be receiving assistance in the form of gift cards, Jeff Cook said.