Proceeds from this weekend’s jewelry sale will help Sandy Pines rebuild

Officials at the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre are hoping to raise money to rebuild this barn, destroyed by fire in January, and incorporate a new aquatic centre for rescued waterbirds.

Adam Bramburger
Beaver Staff

The Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre will stage one of its largest fundraisers of the year this Friday to Sunday and, in light of a devastating barn fire last month, it promises to be even bigger this year.

Volunteers are working 12-hour days this week to finish sorting and tagging donated items for Sandy Pines’ 13th Annual Art & Jewellery Sale at the Frontenac Mall to be ready for tomorrow’s opening.

Event co-ordinator Adrienne Shannon said donors have been digging deep to help.

“It’s even bigger this year, I think. The fire that happened at Sandy Pines has kind of prompted people to really contribute, to go into their drawers into their precious jewelry and costume jewelry to send it to us to raise some money,” she said.

While Shannon said “it’s not possible to count” all the donated items, she estimates there are between 2,000 and 3,000 pieces of jewelry, ranging from valuable gemstones like sapphires and diamonds, to semiprecious stones, pearls, Stirling silver pieces and costume jewelry. A jeweller from Belleville is also bringing in inventory of new creations and contributing her proceeds to the cause.

A majority of the items have been previously loved.

“Ninety per cent is donated and that’s beautiful because it comes with people’s memories. It belonged to some woman or was given to a daughter on graduation or a wedding day,” Shannon said.

There are also about 40 prints and original pieces of art available. Shannon said art used to be a larger aspect of the show, but in recent years the focal points has definitely been jewelry.

Last year, the show raised about $13,000, which Shannon said is a great total when one considers a lot of the jewelry sells for under $5. She also noted a number of visitors will make donations or top up their purchases with more money to help the centre with its activities.

“The expenses for the centre are very high when you think about medicines, food, X-rays, all kinds of care and housing,” Shannon said. “Each year, Sue Meech and her staff take in more animals. There were over 4,000 last year. There has already been about 100 in January so far.”

A driver for Sandy Pines, Shannon said she knows the centre spreads its resources wide, taking in animals from across eastern Ontario. With the fire, funding levels need to be rebuilt.

Leah Birmingham, the assistant director at Sandy Pines, said in an e-mail the need is great this year due to the fire. The centre hopes not only to rebuild the barn, but also to make improvements.

“We are hoping with your help to turn this into some much-needed funds to rebuild Sue’s barn and modify it to include a much-need aquatic centre for better care for waterbirds such as loons, swans, herons, and a variety of ducks,” Birmingham said. “While the barn mostly housed rescued farm animals, it also accommodated wildlife — such as swans — that need constant water and a large space with a great deal of shelter. We are hoping to provide them with a better shelter and more efficient water source in the new aquatic centre.”

The sale runs from 9:30-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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