Sharon Quail, fundraising coordinator, cooks up smokies at the event on Sunday. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Sharon Quail, fundraising coordinator, cooks up smokies at the event on Sunday. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Independent partners with Angel Flight for barbecue fundraiser

Independent was raising funds for the non profit until August 20

Angel Flight East Kootenay partnered with Kevin’s Your Independent Grocer to host a fundraiser teeming with sizzling smokies, colourful masks, and refreshing sodas.

The event was held in Fernie on August 9 and August 16, with all proceeds going towards Angel Flight, a volunteer-led non profit providing free air transportation to residents of the East Kootenays in need of medical treatment at centres in Kelowna.

After having many summer events fall thorough due to COVID-19, Angel Flight wanted to host a COVID-friendly fundraiser to raise awareness for their organization.

Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, countless residents came by the stand to donate, strike up conversation, and indulge in steaming hot dogs. One of the attendees even mentioned that his father was one of the patients saved by Angel Flight’s charitable service.

To kick things off, Sharon Quail, fundraising coordinator for Angel Flight, reached out to Eldho Thankachan, assistant store manager of Kevin’s Your Independent Grocer, who donated the sausages, buns, and sodas on behalf of the grocery store.

“Loblaws is a company that highly values supporting the community, our intention is to help and grow the community to the next level,” said Thankachan.

The barbecue was held in conjunction with Independent’s dollar round up on groceries, encouraging customers to donate at the till from July 21 until August 20.

At Fernie’s event, local resident Mary Weselake also sold colourful masks in a variety of sizes, donating all proceeds toward Angel Flight. Her masks can also be found in town at Big Bang Bagels, Stephanie’s Glass and Art Studio, and Polar Peak Books.

“My son is one of the pilots for Angel Flight, and it such a great organization that I felt I needed to help somehow,” said Weselake.

Having had most of the fabric used for the masks donated, Weselake would still appreciate any further donations of fabric, thread, and elastic. Those interested in offering materials can reach her at

Following a three-month hiatus due to the pandemic, Angel Flight began flying again in mid-July. The organization has sent over 84 patients to appointments in hospitals since they started operations in April 2019.

The next Angel Flight fundraiser will be held at the Real Canadian Superstore in Cranbrook on August 20. For more information on Angel Flight or to donate, visit their website at, or call 250-430-1188.

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Sharon Quail and Eldho Thankachan led the fundraising efforts in Fernie. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Sharon Quail and Eldho Thankachan led the fundraising efforts in Fernie. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

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