Local fundraiser challenged substance and alcohol-free January to raise money for DOAP Team: How you can get involved
By Cassie Weiss, Features Editor
January was a fresh start for everyone. The clock rang in the new year with friends cheering together via a computer screen or a phone call. With new COVID-19-friendly traditions cascading around the city, one local organization was getting ready for its annual fundraiser with bated breath — wondering how being smack dab in the center of a pandemic was going to affect everyone involved.
The Boring Little Girls Club (BLGC), a community of women, trans and non-binary folk, pride themselves on the creation of a safe space that allows fun and friendship without the use of drugs and alcohol. Although they do not like to define what “sober” means to someone, they hold spaces that are 100 per cent free of substances.
Last year, they created the Try Dry initiative, a month-long fundraiser that asked folks to give up their substance of choice and raise money instead for a good cause. There were two ways folks could raise money, with all proceeds going to Calgary’s Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) Team.
According to BLGC president Kira Dunlop, this gave participants something to focus on, and starting the fundraiser on Jan. 1 was a good way to ring in the new year.
“We asked folks to pledge the amount they would normally spend on [substances] throughout the month and to donate that. Additionally, people could pledge to ‘Try Dry’ and raise funds from family and friends,” Dunlop says.
“We are not the sobriety police. We have faith that people are taking this seriously. Our main goal is to raise funds for the amazing work the DOAP Team is doing.”
Having raised over $6,000 in 2020, Dunlop says the club is hopeful to raise around $10,000 this year. With the knowledge that money is a bit scarce during a pandemic, the BLGC had a unique idea to still raise funds as much as they were able.
“We understand that money is tight and that people are going through financial hardship, so we decided to pivot to also incorporating small businesses,” says Dunlop.
Turning to some of the local organizations that support the BLGC, Dunlop says there was an amazing show of community when asking these businesses to jump on board. The BLGC requested donations for a three-week-long online auction set in three phases, and prizes such as homemade knives, artwork, massages and tattoo time were graciously provided to the club.
According to Dunlop, 60 per cent of the items were auctioned at value, but in a few cases, participants bid more.
“It was really neat to watch the bidding wars occur,” she says.
With unique items from local artists and businesses, Dunlop is grateful for the strong following BLGC has gained in the city.
When The Reflector spoke with Dunlop, there was still one week left of the online auction, and the club had already raised $3,000 from that portion of the fundraiser alone. Dunlop couldn’t contain her excitement as she expressed the hope that the BLGC would reach their final goal this year, even with the financial hardships folks are experiencing.
“With all the doom and gloom around us, it’s so beautiful to see everyone come together as part of the community. People are scared for their own survival and this gives light and hope and reason for folks to think outside of themselves.”
Although January is now over, Dunlop says there are still many ways people can get involved, either by donating to the DOAP Team, or the BLGC in general.
“The club is constantly running online events, and folks can join at any time — they just have to RSVP. In terms of Alpha [House], they are always accepting donations.”
The DOAP Team and Alpha House are near and dear to the BLGC’s hearts. Dunlop highly recommends that if anyone has money to spare, to send it to one of the city’s emergency shelters, who have been working hard to house and protect some of the city’s most vulnerable populations, especially in the past few weeks of bitter cold.
“They are the essence of humanity,” Dunlop emphasizes.
The BLGC’s fundraiser would go on to raise a total of $10,066, with 75 per cent of the money going to the DOAP Team and the remainder staying with the club to help with expenses.
Anyone looking for more information on the Boring Little Girls Club can visit their website at boringlittlegirlsclub.ca, and anyone who wants to find out more about the DOAP Team can visit the Alpha House website at alphahousecalgary.com.