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City of Castlegar giving money left by Secret Santa to senior’s program

Project IRIS to benefit from mystery money
The mystery money is headed to a local non-profit that benefits seniors. File photo

After almost a year, a mysterious $2000 donation is finally headed to a good cause.

In December of 2021, an anonymous donor sent the Castlegar RCMP an envelope of cash with instructions to disperse as the RCMP saw fit around the community.

The RCMP is not allowed to distribute money, so efforts were made to locate the Secret Santa. But with no return address on the envelope, there were no leads and publicity asking for the donor to come forward went unanswered.

The money was held for 90 days and then transferred to the City of Castlegar as found property. So in May 2022, how to spend the money came before city council.

At the time, council considered several options before deciding to direct the money to support local cooling centres. Kinnaird Church of God, New Life Church and The Way Out Shelter stepped up during the 2021 heat wave to open their doors to anyone needing relief from the heat and agreed to do the same in 2022.

The only support the groups had received from the city were automated external defibrillators.

But it turned out that those organizations did not end up needing the funding in 2022, so the mystery money was once again before council at their Nov. 21 meeting.

Council decided to give the money to IRIS (Increasing Recreation Involving Seniors) — a local organization that helps seniors connect to support, education and each other. IRIS organizes weekly events and activities that are well attended. A recent lunch activity was attended by 55 seniors and a cimate change education session was attended by 35 seniors.

The motion is scheduled for final approval on Dec. 5.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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