Community members opened up their wallets last weekend at a special fundraiser for employees of the Pender Harbour Hotel and Grasshopper Pub.
Held Friday, Oct. 18 at the Garden Bay Pub, the event raised $9,500 for workers whose jobs were lost when fire gutted the local landmark on Sept. 30.
“It was insanely good,” organizer Dee Rosen said. “That’s about as blunt as I could put it. For such a small community to collect $10,000 in one evening was pretty overwhelming.”
The event incorporated longboarding group Team Irene’s regular meat draw fundraiser, adding a 50/50 draw and live auction.
“It just kind of blossomed between myself and Ron Johnson, owner of the Garden Bay Pub,” Rosen said, adding that all local businesses contributed generous prizes for the event, while local trades donated their services for the live auction.
“That’s a huge giveback to the community,” she said. “And Ron Johnson was outstanding doing the live auction.”
In the spirit of the evening, the winner of the 50/50 draw donated the money back, Rosen said.
She estimated about 180 people turned out for the event, filling both the pub and dining room to capacity.
The funds will be evenly divided among the employees who were hardest hit and agreed to accept help, she said.
“A couple of them weren’t in need and a couple of others opted out for reasons of their own,” she added.
Sixteen people were thrown out of work by the Sept. 30 fire, which was ruled an accident by investigators who concluded it was electrical in origin and started on the back patio outside the kitchen door.
Other hospitality establishments in the area have hired some of the workers, despite it being the slow season, owner Bikram Brar confirmed.
Brar said it was too early to say when rebuilding would begin, as he was still waiting on a report from his insurance company.