New Westminster firefighters set to shred your paperwork

The New Westminster Firefighters’ Charitable Society’s hockey game is a bust for 2020 – but its shred-athon is a go.

The charitable society holds a number of events to raise funds for various New West-based charities, including an annual tree-chipping event and shred-athon, and a bi-annual hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks Alumni. This year’s shred-athon is taking place on Sunday, Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Canada Games Pool parking lot.

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“Unlike other years, we are not going to have any entertainment,” said firefighter Glen Bailey, president of the charitable society. “No band. No entertainment. No hot chocolate. No hot dogs. No pop.”

This year’s contactless shred-athon has been designed to keep community members and New West firefighters safe in a time of COVID-19.

“It’s going to be one-way in, one-way out,” Bailey said. “We are asking people to stay in their cars. We are asking people to put stuff into their trunks. We will go into their trunks and empty their trunks out. We will put the papers directly into a bin in front of them, so they know it is going directly into the bin, and then it will get shredded.”

If people are unable to put their paperwork in the trunks of their vehicles – or have so much that it overflows into the passenger area of their vehicles – firefighters would appreciate if they could wear masks.

New Westminster firefighters
The New Westminster Firefighters’ Charitable Society is raising funds for local charities at its annual fundraising shred-athon, which is on Sunday, Sept. 13. From left, New Westminster firefighters Shannon De Peralta, James Stewart Ryan James are among the members of the New Westminster Firefighters' Charitable Society, which hosts the event. - Theresa McManus

As in past years, firefighters will be collecting cash donations in boots – but non-cash options have been introduced for this year’s event.

“We also have a debit machine. If somebody wants to make a donation via credit card or debit card, we now have that ability as well,” Bailey said. “We absolutely will have boots there if people want to pay by cash.”

The shred-athon, which normally includes a barbecue and entertainment by bands from New Westminster Secondary School, is one of the society’s biggest fundraisers.

“Shred-It is coming again. There will be three trucks there at some point during the day; when one fills up, they will bring another one in,” Bailey said. “Last year we did two-and-three-quarter trucks full.”

While New Westminster firefighters are disappointed they won’t have a chance to mingle with attendees at this year’s event, Bailey said they’re happy they’re still able to host the event that raises money for local initiatives such as Christmas hamper programs, meal programs at schools and the pediatric ward at Royal Columbian Hospital.

“We have been doing the best we can,” he said of this year’s fundraising efforts. “Donations are down. We were supposed to have our hockey game this year against the Canucks, but that is cancelled.”


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