The Airdrie Food Bank’s (AFB) largest annual fundraiser has been cancelled once again, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact local organizations.
According to Christine Taylor, manager of events, marketing and communications with AFB, the Shamrock Shimmy will not take place later this month. She said ensuring the safety of all eventgoers, volunteers and staff amid the continuing pandemic would not be possible in the context of a large community fundraiser.
“We just decided to let that go again,” she said.
As it came time to make a decision on the event, Taylor said what is most important to AFB is the safety of its employees, volunteers and everyone else involved. As most of the food bank’s volunteers are older, she said they did not want to put anyone in a position of possibly getting sick.
“There was just no safe way to do [the event] in our eyes,” she said.
The Shamrock Shimmy – an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed party at the Airdrie Town and Country Centre – was also cancelled in March 2020, just two days prior to the event being held. Last year's Shamrock Shimmy was one of the first public event casualties of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor said last year’s cancellation was “devastating,” considering both the work that had gone into organizing the event and the crucial funds it typically generates for the food bank.
“This year it was not as bad, because we sort of knew we weren’t in any better shape COVID-19-wise,” she said.
Continuing to feed people in need is Taylor and the AFB’s main focus as the year progresses. While the cancellation of the Shamrock Shimmy does result in a donation shortfall of roughly $25,000 to $30,000, she said the community has constantly come to support AFB throughout the pandemic.
“Even though our community is struggling, we have still received a tremendous amount of support,” Taylor said. “Whether it’s food, dollars or companies coming in and doing things for us for free, we are beyond blessed for the support.”
Instead of the Shamrock Shimmy, Taylor said AFB will host a social media contest next week, aimed at sharing memories from past iterations of the Shamrock Shimmy. She said that starting March 8, people can post their favourite moments to social media using the hashtag #AFBShimmyMoment, and a grand prize gift basket will be drawn on March 13 – the day the Shamrock Shimmy was originally going to take place.
Though donations are typically a focal point of the Shamrock Shimmy, Taylor said the contest is free to participate in and the food bank is not asking for donations from participants.
“We just want to share a little fun on the day that would have been the event,” she said.