Submitted. Businesses in Abbotsford are banding together in the wake of the tragedy at Abbotsford Senior Secondary to raise funds for the victims’ families and help the community heal by spreading a message of strength and love with sales of #ABBYSTRONG t-shirts and window stickers.
The initiative spearheaded by Josh and Gina Vanderheide, owners of Field House Brewing Co., is a collaborative effort with several dozen Abbotsford businesses and the City of Abbotsford. Together, these community partners have raised $20,000 to kick start the #ABBYSTRONG project. Gina, who is a teacher at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School and was at the school when the tragedy occurred, felt compelled to do something to help.
“Our intention is more than just financial support,” said Gina Vanderheide. “We developed the #ABBYSTRONG initiative with the common goal of displaying strength and resolve in our community in an effort to spread a positive message of hope in the wake of this terrible tragedy that has shaken the entire community.”
The t-shirts and bumper stickers are available for purchase at Abbotsford City Hall, Spruce Collective, UFV Bookstore, Field House Brewing Co. High Street Shopping Centre and Whatcom Wine and Spirits. The t-shirts are being sold for $25 and the window stickers are just $2. Orders over 50 can be made by contacting WeAreAbbyStrong@gmail.com. Net proceeds from the sale of all #ABBYSTRONG t-shirts and bumper stickers will go directly to the families of the victims, with the goal of raising $50,000.
On November 10, organizers will be providing a t-shirt for every student and teacher at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School along with window stickers as a show of support from the community.
As part of the campaign, organizers are encouraging people to post pictures of themselves wearing their t-shirts on social media and tag #ABBYSTRONG as a show of solidarity for the cause. The public is also being encouraged to join the #ABBYSTRONG movement on Facebook.
So far the outpouring of local support for the campaign has been substantial with many local businesses donating their resources and financial support. Partner businesses include Brickhouse Signs, Alliance Clothing, Spruce Collective, Field House Brewing Co., High Street Shopping Centre, Whatcom Wine and Spirits, Klaassen Business Group – as well as financial contributions from Tourism Abbotsford and City of Abbotsford to help fund the initial costs of the campaign.
For more information, visit www.weareABBYSTRONG.com.