Petrolia and North Enniskillen firefighters hoping to kick their fundraising goal for a new building over the top with a boot drive this weekend.
The Firefighters’ Association approached Petrolia and Enniskillen Township last year with the plan to construct a $150,000 building for training and to be a home for historic fire fighting artifacts. The building would allow firefighters to training in a facility without worrying about causing damage with equipment.
The department also wants a place to store some of the historic pieces collected over the 100 plus years of firefighting in the community.
The plan was to raise 75 percent of the cost through donations before the municipalities gave permission to begin construction.
“A large part of our fundraising strategy was…about $40,000 to $50,000 was to come from the large corporate donations,” says Chief Lawrence Swift. “We tried that, unsuccessfully…Everyone is finding the larger corporations (such as the petrochemical companies) are centralizing their fundraising decisions as well as they are applying a filter – looking through things at a lens for example one of the larger companies is targeting education about the environment.”
So instead of trying to convince those companies, Swift says the department turned to smaller companies within their service area. And they had a great deal of success. “They responded amazingly well – they’ve almost made up what we targeted for the large corporations.”
Swift says not only have they provided money, but some are offering goods – like materials – and services to bring down the cost of the project.
Aside from local businesses, Swift says there have been lots of individuals who have offered donations. “We’re almost at our 75 percent of $150,000, but not quite,” says Swift.
So Saturday, firefighters will take to the streets of Petrolia with a boot in hand asking residents if they would donate to the project. “Firefighters will be hitting a segment of the community we haven’t really hit – the individual,” he says. “We’re going door-to-door with a boot, we’re hopeful to fill our boot at the end of the day.”
The department will also be having a barbeque at the Fire hall on Centre Street during the Town-Wide Garage Sales to raise money.
“Hopefully, the money collected will push us over the 75 percentile, and we can get the project started,” says Swift.