For the first time since 2019, the Big Hearts for Big Kids fundraiser is returning in person. The event serves as the largest annual fundraiser for Sunrise House Youth Emergency Shelter, and it’s something Executive Director Tanya Wald says she couldn’t be more excited to welcome everyone back to.
“It will look similar to previous years. Of course, Tenille Townes is coming to Grande Prairie for the event and bringing along with her a few other songwriters. There will be live auctions, silent auctions and it’s going to be a really beautiful night of bringing the community together to raise funds for Sunrise House,” she says.
Wald says it’s a little hard to believe how much the fundraiser has grown since it began in 2010. In 2019, the fundraiser brought in over $436,000.
“Tenille started the fundraiser when she was 15 and still living in Grande Prairie. She learned about the shelter and that there was youth accessing our services. She decided she wanted to do something to help. Initially, it started as a small get-together, with her playing some music, and trying to raise some money. Looking back at the first year, she helped raise $30,000,” she says.
The fundraiser officially began the same day Sunrise House had to close due to a lack of funding and the need for renovations.
“I can’t stress this enough. That first year helped get our facility up and running again. Following that, we have raised more than $2 million dollars for the shelter. Tenille continues to be committed to helping with the fundraiser every year,” she says.
Even though the event is sold out, Wald says there are always ways for people to help.
“If people would like to donate an auction item for the silent auction we would be more than happy to accept that. We have opportunities to volunteer to help with set up and take down for the event. Anyone that is interested can always reach out to us,” she says.
Wald adds that Sunrise House is hoping to raise between $300,000 and $400,000 at this year’s event. All proceeds will support Sunrise House and its programs. Big Hearts for Big Kids is set for April 2nd at the TARA Centre in Evergreen Park.