When Donald Beaulieu and his brothers learned their mother, Irene Beaulieu, would have to remain in hospital in Edmonton as a result of a vehicle accident last month, they knew they would have to make the trip down for Christmas.
But with three adults and eight children hoping to make the trip, that was not a simple proposition.
Luckily, Kim Beaulieu and the communities of Hay River and the Hay River Reserve are stepping up to give the family a hand.
Kim Beaulieu is a veteran of Facebook fundraising, having co-ordinated and participated in campaigns to support both national and local efforts, ranging from the Walking with Our Sisters display to raising money to help a student purchase a dress in which to graduate.
She said this cause seemed like a perfect opportunity to rally the troops once again.
“It just takes someone to get the ball rolling,” she told The Hub. “I love how people step up. I just love it.”
Beaulieu started 12 days of mini-auctions, designated ‘Boys By Her Side’, on Dec. 10 and in two days had raised over $700 from both the sale of items and cash donations from community members. She said that, although she will have to run a few auctions over the weekend, she hopes to have a dozen – modelled on the 12 days of Christmas theme – before the family leaves on Dec. 20.
“It’s just blowing my mind,” she said. “Every time there is a need, and maybe especially because it’s Christmas, people in this community really step up and tap into that spirit of giving.”
As with her other fundraising initiatives, Beaulieu joked she is pleased people trust her to make sure the money goes to the right place. She said she is always impressed by the willingness of Hay Riverites to help in either donating items to be sold or encouraging donations from their families and co-workers.
Beaulieu mentioned that in only two days, she had at least five people come forward with small campaigns of their own to raise money to support the family travelling south to be with their mother. Other efforts, including a bingo held on the Hay River Reserve, were co-ordinated to add to the total.
“It was a surprise,” said Donald Beaulieu. “I didn’t know the community cared that much. I’m happy we’re going to be able to see her and the kids miss her a lot.”
There is also a possibility of both flights for the family and hotel rooms being donated by various companies, easing the financial burden of the trip even further.
Kim Beaulieu said her goal is to reach $2,000 to put in the family’s pocket before they leave for Edmonton.
She said she has always been overwhelmed by previous responses to her requests for support for various causes.
“When I set out to raise money for that girl’s dress, I thought maybe I would get $300,” she said. “We now have over $1,000 and she is going to have a beautiful graduation.”
All the generosity and willingness of Hay River and Hay River Reserve residents to not only donate items, but also buy them, translate into a Christmas made easier for one family going through a tough time, and they are appreciative.
“Thank you very much from me and my whole family for everything you are doing for us to go see my mom on Christmas,” Shone Beaulieu wrote to Kim Beaulieu.
Irene Beaulieu was struck and injured just before 8 a.m. on Nov. 27 while walking across Highway 2 at Royal Road.
— Sarah Ladik