News — 23 November 2011
Celebrity Baggers Wanted
Lisa Dumontier

The holiday season is well underway and as with many local traditions, the Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is gearing up to roll out its annual Round-Up Days/Celebrity Bagging fundraising campaign. A fixture at Sobeys Red Lake during the month of December, the campaign raises funds to purchase equipment prioritised by the Red Lake Hospital on its “Hospital Wish List” and not only relies on the generosity of shoppers willing to round-up their purchases to the nearest dollar, but also the generosity of local companies and organizations whose staff volunteer their time to act as “celebrity baggers”.

“We are pleased that the Sobeys gang are once again willing to participate in this fundraiser, as without their support and [their] help, it would not be such a success,” said Auxiliary President Leah Gentes on behalf of the group’s North Guild. “It’s a great fundraiser and it’s also a good opportunity for the Hospital Auxiliary to get involved with the community because we like to go up to Sobeys and take pictures and greet everyone when they come in.”

With the end of November fast approaching, the Hospital Auxiliary is putting out the call to local businesses and organizations willing to commit to two-hours of grocery-bagging fun at the Sobeys store in Red Lake. Encouraged to don clothing or accessories that identify their community group or business, Celebrity Bagging volunteers are asked to fill teams of four people and can select a time-slot from 10:00am through 6:00pm any day of the week for greater flexibility. Although participants are encouraged to select their own timeslot(s), Gentes warns that the Auxiliary cannot guarantee any placement as times are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A strong contributor to community health services, the month-long Round-Up Days/Celebrity Bagging campaign typically raises between $2,500 and $3,000; funds that in 2011 will be utilised to help the Auxiliary fulfill its pledge to cover the $40,000 cost associated with the purchase of a colonoscope for use at the Red Lake Hospital. The group of volunteers has also purchased three air mattresses and twelve over bed tables this year in conjunction with their Ear Falls counterparts at a total cost of roughly $12,500.

“I think people like to participate as celebrity baggers because its fun and you get to see a lot of people who you may not get to see on a regular basis when you’re stuck in your office or behind your desk,” offered Gentes who is optimistic that—with the continued support of the Red Lake area—the 2011 campaign will be a great success. “It is a bit of a social event as well as a great way to help out your local Auxiliary.”

Companies or organizations interested in participating in this year’s Round-Up Days/Celebrity Bagging campaign are encouraged to contact Leah Gentes (727-3077) or Murielle Goodwillie (735-2828) for more information. Always looking for new volunteers to help behind the scenes, Gentes and Goodwillie also welcome calls from area residents who would like to join the Hospital Auxiliary which has guilds in both Red Lake (North) and Ear Falls (South).

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