Photo: On April 21 at 6:14 PM it finally happened. The refrigerator in the Lions Club’s Drop Hunger fundraiser finally fell through the ice on the Lions Pond near Safeway. The winner, who asked not to be identified, was a local resident. The Drop Hunger event was a Lions Club fundraiser to support our local food bank, the Mountain Family Center. Courtesy Photo
Take a few minutes to step away from all the negative news and enjoy a good laugh. We certainly all need one!
This is a story about a group of really smart, energetic, and community-minded people here in the Fraser Valley. The story starts with the really good idea of bringing back an old, tried and true method of raising funds for an excellent Grand County organization – The Mountain Family Center. The fund raiser was, and is, known by many as the Refrigerator Drop but is officially called “Drop Hunger”. You have most likely heard about this fundraiser and even seen the refrigerator on the Kids fishing pond near the Safeway store during the winter months.
The fund raiser offered people the chance to guess when the Refrigerator would drop through the ice. The winner would keep half the money raised with the rest going to the Mountain Family Center. The refrigerator was prepared for the ice in several ways – the compressor and all fluids were removed, all the seals were removed, holes were drilled through the doors, high school students decorated it to stand out on the ice, and the fire department lifted it onto the ice. Cameras were also installed to pinpoint the exact time the refrigerator broke through the ice. Blocks of cement and a sandbag were put inside the refrigerator to make sure it sank quickly once the ice gave way.
Yes, this smart and energetic group (which includes engineers and other well-educated people) took every action (they thought) to make sure everything went smoothly. What do they say about the best laid plans?
When the big day came and the ice finally cracked, the refrigerator refused to sink! It first tilted and then fell over on its side and then seemingly floated for days. Evidently this 200+ pound hunk of metal had too much foam insulation inside the shell to sink. (at least that’s the working theory).
So, I guess you can be smart, just not all the time. Fortunately, this group (which for the record is the Fraser River Valley Lions club, of which I’m a member) made up for this planning oversight by using the enormous energy of the club to raise good money for the Mountain Family Center. The refrigerator sunk (or tipped over) to the preannounced markings on the refrigerator on April 21 at 6:14 pm. $2,460 was raised with half going to the winner. Also, many people donated food when the club sold tickets ($5 per guess) at the Recreation Center, the Fireside Market and City Market which added significantly to the food inventory at the Family Center. And much of the fund-raising cycle was cut short by the virus and subsequent lock down.
The Lions club plans to continue this wintertime fund raiser but may have to rename it the “Refrigerator Float”. My question is could the Lions club make a 200+ pound, all metal refrigerator float two years in a row. Now that would take some good planning.
I should also note that the fact that the refrigerator floated and the shortened time to raise funds did not slow the Lions club down. In a very short period of time they created, and funded, the very successful “Pop Up” food program that allowed restaurants in town to give free meals to those in need. 15 local restaurants participated and over 1,100 meals were given out for free.
When you see the Lions Pancake truck around town this summer (another way they raise funds) feel free to offer advice on how to sink a refrigerator. But be warned, they might just ask you to be on next year’s “Refrigerator Drop/Float” committee.
Lastly, I hope you find other light-hearted stories in your life these days. It’s good to smile, even if you have to do a bit of searching.
If you have any suggestions (particularly on how to sink a refrigerator or good stories), please send any comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.