When Judy Smith, wife of Langley Central Rotarian Terry Smith, was named as RibFest’s 50/50 draw winner this past August – neither of them believed it.
“I had been working at the 50/50 booth for about 20 hours selling tickets,” Terry recalled. “Next thing we knew, I got an email saying Judy won. We both said ‘it couldn’t be right,” but a few days later they told us it was and the tickets matched.”
The Smiths were in fact the winners of the 50/50 draw at the end of the three-day meat-a-thon, which had attracted thousands of attendees to McLeod Athletic Park. The prize? $15,000.
Rather than keep the money for themselves, the Smiths decided to donate the winnings to a Rotary International Global Grant which supports a relief project in Liberia, Africa.
“Liberia is one of the poorest countries in West Africa and has been devastated by the recent Ebola crisis,” Judy said, adding that there was no doubt this is where the winnings would go. “We always knew what we would do with it – that was basically a given.”
Terry said he had been to Liberia on around seven occasions, helping a small Ivory Coast village recover from the destructive Charles Taylor regime who carried out torturous limb amputations on hundreds of villagers in the early 2000s.
The Smiths efforts have since helped the village grow from 700 people to 7000, funding a clinic, doctors residence, and now the development of swampland into a plantation.
“Because of the support from our club and the magic of Rotary multipliers, we can turn that $15,000 into excess of $100.000 and do really amazing things,” Terry said, adding that money can to go a lot further overseas.
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Funds raised and donated to a Global Grant are matched by other Rotary International funds, creating a multiplier effect that enables local clubs and districts to strengthen their global partnerships.
The Smiths are working with the Sinkor Rotary Club of Monrovia Liberia to help bring more relief needed, which includes everything from promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, maternal and child health, literacy and basic education to economic and community development.
Terry and Judy encouraged anyone interested in helping with an initiative, either in their own community or across the globe, to inquire with their their local Rotary Club.
Local Rotary Clubs – Langley, Sunrise, Central, and Aldergrove – hosted RibFest to raise funds for local charities, including the Starfish backpack program to put nutritious meals in schools.
More than $100,000 was earned at RibFest this year, all of which will be put back into the community.
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