Exeter Villa fundraiser passes $33,000 raised
EXETER – A fundraiser to support staff at Exeter Villa has wrapped up far beyond its initial goals.
Stacey Palen, who started the fundraiser, said she started it with the idea of raising a couple thousand dollars. Since starting, it has raised $33,025 between the GoFundMe campaign, e-transfers, cash and cheque donations.
“It’s heartwarming, to say the least,” said Palen. “I’m amazed. I continue to be amazed with what our community does.”
“I think it says a lot about us looking after each other as a community,” Palen continued. “These are people who are in the Villa and have left such a lasting impact on our community. I think it’s inspiring that we rallied around them, trying to make their life happy in a dark day. This has been an awesome way to say thanks for looking after our vulnerable population.”
Palen said that because the fundraiser went beyond the scope of her plans, she had to look toward messages and comments from the donors about what they wanted to see done with the donations, and a large focus was on staff appreciation.
“So many people mentioned that they really wanted the staff to feel loved and appreciated,” said Palen. “We’ve really focused on them for the first little bit.”
With the money raised, Palen said they were able to put together an “appreciation package” which included gift cards and food. They were also putting together a second gift package for Valentine’s Day. While putting together those gifts, Palen said she’s been able to source those gifts from local businesses.
“We’ve used Exeter and area businesses for everything,” said Palen. “During this last month it has been hard on local businesses with the lockdown, and I’m proud that we as a community have in turn been able to support all of these businesses.”
In addition to those appreciation packages, Palen said they’ve been able to purchase “staff room boosters” such as a new coffee machine, and have looked for ways to share the love of the community with the residents as well. With some of the money raised they were able to create personal care packages for residents including dry shampoos and body washes as well as deliver food for residents from local restaurants.
Speaking about what’s planned for the remainder of the funds, Palen said they’re looking at ways they can help to make outdoor visits more comfortable and enjoyable once they’re allowed again.
“We’re probably not going back to the way things used to be for some time,” said Palen. “We’re going to have some challenges in the months to come, so I’d like to make sure that we have some of that money tucked away for them to use as the seasons change.”
Palen thanked everyone for their support and wanted to highlight several donations including a $1,000 donation from the Exeter Lions Club, a $1,000 donation from Paxton’s heart fundraiser, a donation from Anne Bell and a donation made in memory of Bob Nichol.