Grande Prairie Technical Search and Rescue is kicking off its biggest fundraiser of the year with an online raffle.

Fundraising Director Bailey Randolph says the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on their fundraising efforts. She adds they’ve been forced to cut back on the number of events they are able to hold.

“We usually do two to three, but COVID-19 put a wrench in our plans, so this is our major fundraiser of the year.”

Randolph adds that on top of the busy year they had in 2020, the team had less funding because of the pandemic.

According to the Grande Prairie Search and Rescue website, in 2020, the team of 43 volunteers put in over 5,000 hours and went on 28 missions.

“Everyone was under restrictions, we weren’t allowed to travel so a lot more people were using the lakes and trails, which led to an increase in callouts for us,” Randolph says.

“We don’t want people to have to use us, but we want to make sure we’re prepared for when people do need us,” she adds.

Randolph says the first place Prize is a four-night fishing trip with Alberta adventures.

“We wanted to have a prize this year that could still allow people to get away that have been cooped up for the past year and a half,” she adds.

The second-place prize is a $1,500 Trapper Gord gift card, with the third-place prize includes a locally curated BBQ night bundle. Ticket sales end on June 19th with, the online draw taking place on June 20th.