Matthew’s House in Abbotsford is the recipient of a $50,000 surprise donation, thanks to a contest won by the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association (AMHA).
A cheque was presented on Saturday at MSA Arena to Doug and Andrea Froese, who started the respite centre for children with complex health-care needs in memory of their son Matthew, who died in 2010 at the age of nine.
The facility opened in November as part of the Campus of Care on Marshall Road adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
AMHA won the funds through a contest sponsored by Timber Mart and the Timbrkids Charitable Foundation.
The process began with Timber Mart’s SharpShooter contest, which featured a Facebook game and a mobile phone app in which participants play an online shootout that rates their accuracy, power, speed and skill.
Players contributed their points to their local minor hockey association.
At the end of the contest period on Jan. 7, those points were turned into ballots, and 10 finalist teams were randomly selected.
AMHA president Trevor Bamford said the association was surprised to be notified that it was one of the 10 finalists.
He said AMHA has been unable to determine the individual whose SharpShooter points qualified them for the draw.
The 10 teams were then asked to submit a proposal outlining how they would spend the $60,000 in top prize money, with $10,000 going to their association and the rest being contributed to a youth-based charity.
AMHA’s proposal outlined that the $10,000 would go to their benevolent fund to enable kids from low-income families to play hockey. At an average cost of $500 per child for the season, 10 to 20 families could be helped, their proposal stated.
AMHA designated Matthew’s House as the recipient of the remaining funds, saying the money “would make a huge impact on sick children and their families.”
A panel from the Timbrkids Foundation then chose the top five groups, awarding $60,000 to first place and $10,000 each to the next four teams (with $5,000 going to the group and $5,000 going to charity).
The money will now be used towards programs and services at the facility, which is operated by Communitas Supportive Care Society. For more information, visit mattshouse.ca.