Tsunami relief efforts continue 

More than a month after the Dec. 26 tsunami devastated regions around the rim of the Indian Ocean local fundraising efforts to help the survivors continue.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised in recent weeks and donated to various relief organizations.

Whistler’s snowboard shops, Westbeach, Showcase, The Circle and Evolution, raised $10,000 last Saturday. The money was raised in part from the sale of $3,000 worth of raffle tickets, $2,000 from the Garfinkel's staff who donated their tips and Whistler-Blackcomb who doubled the contribution. The money was donated to the Red Cross.

The Jan. 11 "loveraiser" at Uli's Flipside raised more than $8,000 from local individuals and businesses who donated prizes. Uli's staff also worked for free and donated their tips. The money is going to a Buddhist foundation, Tzu Chi, which will help survivors from the tsunami.

On that same night the Edgewater Lodge raised more than $4,000 after donating all the money spent by patrons on food as well as the money raised from a silent auction. The money was sent to the Red Cross.

A part-time Whistler resident, Carin Smolinski, also raised almost $13,000 after challenging 150 students and their families from her international school in Tokyo. The students raised almost $6,500 and Smolinski matched their efforts. The money went to the Save the Children's Foundation's Tsunami fund.

Smolinski celebrated the achievement with a Toss the Boss bungee jump last Friday.

Last but certainly not least, the students at Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton have also been doing their part. The students have been working hard on creative crafts for the school's Tsunami Relief Bazaar, which takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 9 from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

"Most of these kids aren’t complete strangers to disasters with the flood we had here in 2003," said Grade 5 teacher Kathy Saintsbury. "Most of them are very interested and understand how important it is to try and help other kids."

Signal Hill students also contributed $629 to the Wheelchair Foundation of Canada. The money was raised in a December Penny Drive. The foundation will match their donation and use the money to buy four wheelchairs.

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