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Meat draws a crucial part of fundraising for Rutland non-profit

Kelowna Capital News - 1/14/2019

A meat draw held twice a week at a Rutland veteran's club helped form the non-profit more than 45 years ago.

"They didn't have a club, people would go out and buy meat, and then they'd have meat draws in their houses or wherever and eventually they got the money to buy the property," said vice president Burpee Aitkens of Army Navy & Air Force Veterans In Canada Unit 376.

Nowadays, the meat draws are a crucial component for the club's fundraising.

In 2018, more than $25,000 was raised for local charities and those in need, including the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, Okanagan Military Museum, KGH Foundation for JoeAnne's House, Rutland's branch of The Salvation Army and more.

"The meat draws have been bringing in money, which is donated to various facilities around," Aitkens said. All funds collected from the draws are donated directly to charity.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the meat draws, which are held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. at the club's location at 270 Dougall Rd. North. Tickets are $1 and you can buy as many as you want, Aitkens said. He recommends coming a bit early to sign in.

"We want to support the community. It's a non-profit organization and any money that we raise other than looking after expenses, the meat draws are there to support the various different charities," he said.

The meat is purchased from the IGA in Rutland, and the non-profit spends about $500 for each draw. The type of meat available varies, ranging from chicken, steak, turkey and ham depending on the time of the season.

"If we have a good day in here we have between 60 and 70 people in here," Aitkens said.

As a veteran, Aitkens has been supporting charities with the club since 1986. Along with meat draws, it hosts dances and karaoke among other events.

"We do whatever we can to promote the club in the community," he said.

The club is also looking for new members. It's free to join, however, two sponsors are required. Aside from meat draws, the club holds weekly events that include drop in pool sessions and karaoke.