Donation comes at the right time to help Big Brothers Big Sisters

Breakfast Exchange Club busy despite loss of arena fundraiser
2010-07-21T23:26:00Z 2010-07-21T23:35:46Z Donation comes at the right time to help Big Brothers Big SistersCHELSEA KROTZER Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
July 21, 2010 11:26 pm  • 

After the office of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County flooded last month, Executive Director Becky Webber didn’t know what to do.

Webber said the building flooded with 6 to 8 inches of water during the Father’s Day storm, destroying power strips, office supplies and books.

After clearing the debris, Webber discovered the floors were destroyed, buckling as they dried out.

And insurance didn’t cover flood damages.

“We were scrimping to see how to pay for the damages,” Webber said.

But then the organization got a check for $5,000 from the Breakfast Exchange Club, a nonprofit group of 104 volunteers who collect money for local charities and causes.

Webber said she was stunned when she got the check Tuesday morning.

Without the money from the club, repairs would have come from funds the group uses to match a big brother or big sister with children in need.

“Now we don’t have to take money away from the kids to make repairs,” Webber said. “The money will go toward matching littles with bigs.”

Each match costs about $1,000 after background checks, staff interviews and training.

The check will cover five new matches to add to the almost 75 community members and 100 high school mentors involved with the program.

Members of the Breakfast Exchange Club raise money by pouring beer during events at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

“A lot of people that come and buy a beer think we are Metra employees,” said publicity chairman Dave Staton. “But we’re not.”

Any tips the volunteers earn go back to the community. Staton said about $1.5 million has been raised in the organization’s 32 years.

Last year, the group raised around $167,000 for charities, events and programs.

Each year, the group chooses a charity or cause to give a $5,000 donation.

Last year the money went to Huntley Project High School, which had been destroyed in 2008 by an arson fire.

 

Fundraising events

 

With Rimrock Auto Arena closed due to tornado damage, the group’s largest fundraiser will be limited.

But that doesn’t discourage Staton, who said volunteers will still be serving at MetraPark events at different locations throughout the summer.

The cancellation of two major concerts, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will put a dent in donations, though.

“They will come back, it’s just a matter of time,” Staton said. “In the meantime, people will continue to donate.”

Other fundraising events that Breakfast Exchange Club volunteers are involved in include:

• Dress a Child: 50 volunteers team up with 50 kids and head to Kmart to purchase $100 worth of clothing for each child — and a toy to top it off.

• Golf tournament: The club sells flags for $100 each, representing fallen veterans or victims of child abuse.

Contact Chelsea Krotzer at ckrotzer@billingsgazette.com or 657-1392.

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