An online fundraiser to keep the doors of Ryder Lake Hall blew past its goal Tuesday morning, and the people who run the building are now hoping to go a huge step farther.
A GoFundMe was started seven days ago with a target of $11,000, enough to cover a year’s worth of operating costs and pay for overdue maintenance.
By Tuesday afternoon donations had already reached $14,400 and a new target was set at $20,000.
“As well as covering the basic costs of running the hall for a year after the financial consequences of the pandemic, it will mean some of the key urgent maintenance such as repainting and replacing some guttering can take place earlier,” said Peter Whitlock, President of the Ryder Lake Farmers Institute. “It will also allow us to start to look towards bigger projects that will need to happen in the coming period, such as a new roof and some sanitation upgrades.”
Ryder Lake Hall has been the centerpiece of the small Chilliwack community since it opened in 1963. Its costs are covered by rental fees and fundraisers, two sources that have dried up during COVID-19. The hall costs approximately $7,000 a year to run, and GoFundMe organizer Alan Herrington wrote that reserves have dwindled.
He also said it would be hard to imagine Ryder Lake without the hall.
“Countless memories have been made at the hall over the years through weddings, dances, potlucks, and concerts,” he wrote. “Our children have been served breakfast by Santa and his elves, watched movies and played games at Kid’s Night. We’ve raced dew worms, named the tunes, crafted and gifted, remembered dearly departed friends and celebrated milestones by the hundreds. The Ryder Lake Hall is a unique and magical place, where the very walls drip with history, memories, and laughter.”
Find the GoFundMe online at gofundme.com/f/help-keep-ryder-lake-hall-open
Anyone who wants to donate directly by cheque can make it out to Ryder Lake Farmers and Womens Institutes and mail it to 48438 McGuire Road, Chilliwack B.C. V4Z 1C7.