Christmas Cheer Fund 'draws communities together,' past recipient says

Cheer fund's helping hand

There are only a few weeks remaining to donate to this year’s Christmas Cheer Fund.

Last year, the campaign raised $62,000 for its beneficiaries — one of which was the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association (KTRA).

It provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities.

In 2022 the organization moved to a new facility with a heated barn on Shuswap Road, where a covered arena allows it to offer riding sessions year-round. With the move, the KTRA was able to increase its services from two sessions annually to four — adding winter riding that wasn’t possible at the former location near the Kamloops Airport.

Christmas Cheer came at the perfect time to help with the transition and with costs of supporting the horse herd.

“There’s always unexpected moving costs, so it was really nice to have the support from the funding to help us with our move,” said Executive Director Ashley Sudds.

Having sessions year-round allows consistent programming for the participants who benefit from riding the most.

The KTRA is a non-profit association that relies on grants and donations to operate. Operating costs far exceed the small fee riders pay.

But the benefits of the Cheer campaign are not just financial, Sudds said. The KTRA has been a beneficiary three times in the past.

“When you’re a part of Christmas Cheer, that really brings awareness to your organization from people who maybe haven’t heard of it before,” Sudds said. “From that aspect, I think it’s great.”

Community building was another benefit for the KTRA.

“I think it really draws communities together because it allowed me to get to know the other organizations that were being supported that same year,” she said.

“So, not only is it building awareness for our organization, but it’s building our awareness for other organizations.”

Other past beneficiaries of Christmas Cheer include the SPCA, the Chris Rose Centre for Autism, Sensational Soups, Out of the Cold and more.

This year, funds raised will be given to the Kamloops Legion, BGC Kamloops Journey Fund, Overlander Residential Care Auxiliary and the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter.

To donate online, click here. Cash, cheque, credit and debit card donations can also be made in person or dropped off at the BC Interior Community Foundation, 2-219 Victoria St., or at Castanet Kamloops, 102-635 Victoria St.

To view this year's donors, click here.

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