Rainy River youth host spaghetti supper to raise funds for new ice plant

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer
kkellar@fortfrances.com

When it was announced that the ice surface in Rainy River was in jeopardy due to an aging ice plant, local youth decided to step up and do something about it.

In a fundraising post made in early January 2024 on the nonprofit fundraising platform Zeffy, members of the Rainy River Recreation Centre shared that the ice plant at the facility has been in dire need of repairs in the past few years, and now the Recreation Centre is looking at replacing the plant entirely, which will cost the Centre a sizeable chunk of cash in order to keep key wintertime activities running within town.

“This year is particularly difficult as our Ice Plant Compressor has failed beyond repair,” the post states.

“The cost of replacing the compressor and fan was $25,000.00. This comes just a year after paying a massive $20,000.00 Ice Plant repair bill. Without these repairs the Arena would no longer exist… In addition to our current Ice Plant repair costs; We are currently fundraising to raise the funds for a new Ice Plant. Our existing Plant has outlived it’s life and will not function for much longer despite the hefty repairs. The estimated cost of a new energy efficient Ice Plant is $750,000.00.”

The Recreation Centre members have noted the new ice plant will be much more efficient and provide more opportunities to local sports, but the total cost will need to be raised over time and through many different local activities including Railroad Daze, The Trail of Terror and The Walleye Bar, among others.

Taking the monumental task of raising more than three-quarters of a million dollars as a challenge, a group of Rainy River students threw their hats into the ring in late February in order to help meet that sizeable fundraising goal.

The Rainy River After School Program hosted a Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, providing a hot meal and chance to socialize to local residents while also collecting free will donations to contribute to the fundraising efforts.

Town of Rainy River economic development officer Gajith Jinadasa said the whole dinner was a success thanks to the hard work of the after school program students and the people who helped them out. The whole experience also gave the After School Program students some valuable experience in volunteering and organizing larger-scale events.

“The After School Programme kids, under the guidance of Julie Tiboni, hosted a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser to raise funds towards purchasing an Ice Plant for the Rainy River Recreation Centre,” Jinadasa wrote in an email.

“Given their young age, this was a nice project to enhance their leadership skills, learn the value of volunteering at a young age, as well as feel the satisfaction of community contributions at a young age. Given the participation of about 18 kids, we hope this would enable future volunteers and leaders in rainy river area.”

Jinadasa said the dinner raised a grand total of $2,300 in donations for the new ice plant, and noted that the event was warmly welcomed and supported by community members.

“Volunteers came forward to support with food delivery and cooking,” he said.

“Kids took the responsibility of serving and hosting.”

With proof that even a smaller group of students can work together to make a big impact and help out with community causes, Jinadasa said he hopes the work of the After School Program students might inspire other youth across the district that they too can make a difference in their own communities.

To help support the Rainy River Recreation Centre’s fundraising efforts for a new ice plant, visit their Zeffy page at https://shorturl.at/pxTXZ, or by visiting their Facebook page.