The Cochrane Activettes Food Bank has received $5,000 from the Tom Jackson Community Builder Gala, and more funds from the successful evening are being dispersed.

"This is just exceptional for us to have the Rocky Mountain Rotary group and Dan to help us with this donation to our food bank," says Sue Lunnin, Activettes vice-president and chair of their upcoming Share Your Christmas campaign. "We're definitely struggling this year. It's going to be a challenge for sure, probably one of our most challenging years, and we're just so thankful."

Another event is in the works that will be announced after Remembrance Day that will widely benefit the community while supporting the food bank.

The gala also provided funds to help support the development of the new trail between Cochrane and Calgary and projects of the Rocky Mountain Rotarians, including their major commitment to support summer camps organized by the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation.

Dan Kroffat, who create the community builder award program, says it was a highly successful sold-out affair. He says they didn't go into it with a monetary goal and would have been pleased if they raised $20,000.

"We exceeded that as well," he says. "We went well over $30,000, so the benefactors will enjoy more money being distributed to them."

Kroffat says key to its success was how major sponsors who stepped forward right at the beginning to make it a practically cost-free event. Green Drop covered the food for the evening, Cochrane Toyota picked up the cost of the venue, local realtors Shelley and Mason Kramer picked up the staffing costs, and Two Pharmacy paid for the auctioneer.

He says the funds are being dispersed in different amounts to the three benefactors. In addition to the $5,000, another huge grass-roots community event is being held specifically to raise funds for the Activettes food bank. It isn't being announced until after Remembrance Day to show respect for the important annual Poppy Campaign of the Royal Canadian Legion in support local veterans and families.

This was the fourth Community Builder event, that also supports local causes. The reins are in the hands of the newly-chartered Rocky Mountain Rotary Club, previously known as the Young Professionals. Kroffat also handed them the Great Cochrane Outhouse Race earlier this fall. 

Kroffat says turning over the project sets the stage for the future.

"I'm really proud of the fact that I was able to bring this initiative to the town in the first place, and now as I step away from it and they take the helm, I think it's in great hands."

Rocky Mt. Rotary president Ryan Baum says it's an honour to take over both events.

"It's a little nerve-racking for us to take over the helm to some degree because he's done such a good job with them previously," admits Baum, "but I know he's not running away and we're going to be able to use him for some teaching and stewardship over the few next years and we're definitely excited."