Bradford Minor Baseball Association usually has a float in the annual BWG Santa Claus Parade, hiring a truck decorated with bales of hay to carry its young players through Bradford as part of the festivities.
Thanks to COVID-19, this year’s parade has been cancelled, and the BMBA found itself with its parade budget unspent.
The Association decided to put the money back into the community - but in a different way.
They doubled the budget, and donated the total to Emily and Sarah Dahlgren’s A Bradford Christmas campaign, which is raising funds to provide hampers of seasonal treats for the families that rely on the Helping Hand Food Bank.
There’s a special connection between the Association and the Dahlgren sisters, noted Shawna Miller, BMBA Vice President.
Two seasons ago, Sarah helped to coach a T-ball team, “and she’s always one of our first volunteers,” said Miller. That's why, she said, “to be able to give back to the food bank through their initiative is close to our heart.”
On Friday afternoon, Miller, BMBA President John McBeth and Hardball Intermediate Convenor Diana Vacca, along with a handful of players, met with the Dahlgren sisters at the new ball diamond on Barrow Avenue, and presented a cheque for $500.
“It’s the least we can do,” Miller said, especially since the Association “luckily didn’t take a massive hit” due to the pandemic, and is in relatively good shape for a 2021 season. “Hopefully!”
“It’s awesome!” said Sarah, accepting the funds.
The sisters are hoping to raise $50,000 this year, to provide hampers of Christmas treats and goodies for food bank families – over and above the hampers provided by the Helping Hand Food Bank itself.
So far, they have raised more than $12,000, with a number of major fundraisers coming up before their December 15 deadline.
“With our community, we’re confident,” said Emily. “This whole experience has been amazing. We’re really feeling the community support from everyone.”
The sisters have been creating Christmas crafts that they will be selling at various venues to raise funds for the cause, and A Bradford Christmas continues to receive support from many local businesses and organizations - even from as far away as Toronto, she noted.
There will a fundraiser at Freshii in Bradford on Nov. 25 - the second of the season - and a huge online Auction, running from Nov. 23 to 30, with auction items donated by over 50 local businesses.
“We’re really proud of you guys,” said Miller Morrison. “You’re such an inspiration to the kids. You guys kind of spark that in people.”
Standing out on the new diamond, BMBA president McBeth thanked the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury for its ongoing support of minor baseball - and for creating two new ball diamonds this year, one at Magani Park on Line 11, and the smaller field on Barrow Avenue, south of Line 6, that will be ideal for younger players.
He also had praise for Town plans to construct a fifth diamond at Magani Park, in 2022. "It creates a hub for baseball in Bradford," McBeth noted.
But that’s for the future. Right now, BMBA is hopeful, making plans for the coming season, and helping the Dahlgren sisters provide A Bradford Christmas to residents this year.
The $50,000 goal is ‘do-able,’ the Dahlgrens say: If every resident of BWG donated just a twoonie, “We would surpass our goal of $50,000.”
To donate via etransfer or for more information on upcoming fundraising events, email firstname.lastname@example.org