High-stakes Royal Purple draw benefits breakfast program and local non-profits

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Continuing a long tradition of community giving, Alicia Manning of Royal Purple Elks 353 handed a $10,000 cheque to Jason Rochon the morning of August 29.

Student support assistant Jason Rochon, who runs the breakfast program at Joamie School in Iqaluit, accepts a cheque for $10,000 from Royal Purple Elks #353 honoured royal lady Alicia Manning. The funds are raised through the organization annual elimination draw, which is on right now.
photo courtesy Royal Purple Elks #353

Rochon, a student support assistant, runs the breakfast program at Iqaluit’s Joamie School.

“I had reached out to him to see if they had received funding, because last year we did the same. We gave them $10,000, which covers the breakfast program for the year,” said Manning.

Students benefit from fresh milk, bread, veggies and fruit and other items.

An annual high-stakes elimination draw is the fundraising tool.

While the Royal Purple of Canada originally formed as an auxiliary to the Elks of Canada in 1914, the organization separated from the Elks in 2014. Some groups, like Iqaluit’s, which formed in 1993, chose to remain affiliated in various ways.

Around that time, the Royal Purple Elks 353 started out with a conventional draw, with $50 tickets and donated items for most prizes. That’s since changed to $100 tickets, with a whopper of a grand prize: $35,000. The women only print 1,250 tickets, and they sell out. The only time it didn’t was when they printed 2,000 tickets.

Elimination draws are an all-day event. Throughout the day, tickets are drawn for a variety of cash prizes, ranging from $200 to $7,500, totalling almost $60,000.

“We generally do the draw at the Legion here in Iqaluit just because it’s more space than we have at the Elks Lodge, and it can accommodate the boards and people coming out to watch the draw throughout the day. It’s all done live,” said Manning.

Audience members get to participate by drawing the winning tickets.

“It’s just a fun day to get together with your friends, while you’re supporting a cause.”

The organization spreads roughly $50,000 around Iqaluit.

“Our mandate is speech and hearing impaired … and helping women and children,” said Manning. “And we also have a national charity called Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, and we donate quite a bit to that.”

Past recipients include: the AWG female hockey team, several school functions, such as the middle school Grade 7 French trip and a cultural exchange, the high school’s student exchange, the Kids Help Phone, the food bank, a foster parents’ barbecue, kids attending the Ontario Hockey Academy, Rotary Club turkey hampers, Music for the Future Foundation, and the 795 Air Cadet Squadron.

“The last several years we have also purchased baby gear and donated to the maternity ward at the hospital. One of our members purchases $5,000 worth and brings it up on sealift. We’ve also donated baby cribs to the women’s shelter,” said Manning.

She says, because tickets can be purchased from anyone in Nunavut, or Canada, the Royal Purple is trying to spread donations to causes outside the capital, as well. Nunavut schools and organizations can reach the Royal Purple at irpe353@gmail.com

The group is made up of 45 women, with Manning the honoured royal lady (a designation like president).

“We’re grateful for all the support we receive from our community every year, and other communities in Nunavut,” said Manning.

“We look forward to selling out again this year and hopefully helping a lot more people.”

The elimination draw is scheduled for Nov. 16.