KALISPELL — The Cares Fair at World Gym for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Glacier Country has been a success with hundreds in the community showing up.
"And this is really the entire community coming together," said Director of Development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country Melissa Dunning. "We’ve got sponsors here from Columbia Falls where our first clubhouse is, we’ve got sponsors here from Evergreen, Kalispell, Whitefish. I mean really the impact here and really getting our name out for the Boys & Girls Club, we’ve never had an opportunity quite like this."
An impact that can be largely attributed to the presence of multiple former NFL stars and Montana legends, headlined by future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees.
"We knew that the community would respond, we knew that we would have a lot of support from our community partners," said Dunning. "I think we underestimated how excited the community would be."
And that excitement resulted in generosity.
"I’ve already received a $5,000 check from a couple who wanted to give directly to the Boys & Girls Club," Dunning said with a huge smile. "They don’t want an item, they don’t want any sort of special acknowledgment, they just wanted to give and be a part of the event."
An act of generosity that perfectly showcases the strong community in the valley. And while Drew Brees was unable be pulled away from taking pictures with hundreds of kids, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Montana Grizzly, Doug Betters, was able to touch on the event.
"You know they kind of had the same idea we have as far as helping out," said Betters. "Helping out kids and their cause and Girls and Boys Clubs are a great area to go with and we support them fully. And when she asked to come out and help for a few hours I said, 'Of course.'"
A response shared by all fellow athletes; Olympic skiier Maggie Voisin, bull rider Beau Hill, and former Grizzlies and NFL players Chase Reynolds, and Brock Coyle.
"It’s a community," said Betters. "You got a really good-hearted community here that really comes out for events like that and really gives it their time and their money."
Something that can be backed up by more than $35,000 raised from the event, a number that is still growing as all the donations are counted.
"We just want to thank the community," said Dunning gratefully. "I mean what a great time to see people come together for a good cause."