by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A large fundraising campaign for a local coffee shop owner has successfully raised over $57,000. The fundraiser was started in support of Brewed Awakenings owner, Kika Smith, who is currently battling cancer. The campaign took place over several weeks, first raising $39,445 through the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe. This money was collected from 332 donors. For the second part of the fundraiser, 223 registered bidders placed 885 bids for donated items in a silent auction in Kika’s name, raising $17,597 against a $10,000 goal. There were 80 item donors to the auction, and an additional 8-10 people and businesses who offered donations, but were politely turned down due to time constraints.
These numbers speak to the sheer number of people and businesses who rallied in support of their neighbour, demonstrating a small town community spirit at a time when it is needed most. Kika’s friend, Paula Rhyndress, emphasized that it took many people to make the campaign a success.
“This was not, by any stretch of imagination, a one-person show,” Paula said. She listed the names of the others who were responsible for making the fundraiser happen, including Kirstin Nortstrand, Penny Heavens-Beavis, Julia O’Grady, and Jordan Henderson. “I didn’t do this by myself, and nor could I have,” said Paula. “These ladies deserve kudos for seeing a need and acting on it.”
In addition to those who helped organize the fundraiser, Paula also wanted to draw attention to the community members and business owners who contributed auction items or donated money.
“I’m glad the heavy lifting is done, but it has been hugely satisfying to see the response. In all honesty, Kika is an easy fund-raising target (who doesn’t love her?), but it’s awesome to see how many have helped,” Paula said.
Community support in times of need is often hailed as one of the most significant benefits of small town living, and this case shows just how strong such support can be.