Advertisement

‘Free Fry Day’ fundraiser helps keep Halo Air Ambulance in the sky

Click to play video: '‘Free Fry Day’ fundraiser helps keep Halo Air Ambulance in the sky' ‘Free Fry Day’ fundraiser helps keep Halo Air Ambulance in the sky
WATCH ABOVE: In order to support Halo Air Ambulance after it faced financial woes, Western Tractor, McCain and J.E.B Transport Ltd. teamed up to raise money for the service while encouraging southern Albertans to eat potatoes. Eloise Therien reports. – May 29, 2020

Free fries were given away throughout the day on Friday at four different Western Tractor locations in southern Alberta, in an effort to raise funds for the Halo Air Ambulance service.

Starting in Medicine Hat, a J.E.B Transport Ltd. truck arrived with 7,500 bags of McCain fries, then headed to Burdett and Taber, with a final stop in Lethbridge.

Each car that pulled up to the stations received two 6.5 lbs bags, helping encourage southern Albertans to eat potatoes, while also supporting Halo.

Money was raised through donations, which could either be made as people picked up their fries or online.

READ MORE: Canada’s meat-and-potato problem: Coronavirus pandemic hits the food supply chain
Click to play video: 'COVID-19 pandemic: Canadian meat and potato industry in crisis' COVID-19 pandemic: Canadian meat and potato industry in crisis
COVID-19 pandemic: Canadian meat and potato industry in crisis – Apr 26, 2020

“It’s amazing, yeah we’ve been having a lot of fun it’s nice to bring our whole team together and have the whole community be able to come together and really support such a worthy cause.” said Troy Aberle, sales manager at Western Tractor.

Story continues below advertisement

Halo first put out a plea to the province for help on May 8, asking for more support from Jason Kenney’s government and said they would likely have to scale back operations on June 1, if things didn’t turn around.

However, after a very successful “fry day” the Halo Air Ambulance service may be in the clear.

Click to play video: 'Potato surplus: Alberta growers take major hit in spring planting' Potato surplus: Alberta growers take major hit in spring planting
Potato surplus: Alberta growers take major hit in spring planting – May 6, 2020

“We’re not quite ready to make anything official but based on the support we’re seeing, we’ll be taking a hard look at a possible extension over the weekend, and making an announcement as to where we stand early next week,” said Paul Carolan, the CEO, of Halo Air Ambulance.

Halo received a $1 million grant to be used in the last quarter of 2018, and through the first three quarters of 2019, working on a pay-per-service basis outside of that.

Story continues below advertisement

In contrast, Stars Air Ambulance received 78 per cent of their funding through community donations last year, which includes funds of $7.8 million from Alberta Health Services.

Those involved in the event say the positive response from the communities has been overwhelming as they were able to raise more than double their $100,000 goal half way through the day.

“We’ve had a tremendous uprising of support, and every vehicle that’s been coming through here as been dropping cheques and kids with piggy bank money, coming to the table and that is so precious,” said Steve Dyck, president of Western Tractor.

The office of Alberta’s minister of health says they are currently reviewing helicopter services province-wide with results expected to be released by the end of the summer.

Sponsored content