When Delta Gymnastics held its first-ever Shred-a-thon during a cold winter day on Jan. 19, the response from the public was overwhelming.
The fundraiser, sponsored by Urban Impact and Vancity Tsawwassen, offered the community free shredding of their documents outside the Vancity branch. For many, it represented a great opportunity to safely get rid of their confidential information.
"One person had been saving their documents for years because they didn't want to take it to the dump or recycle it, so they were especially thankful," says Michelle Laviolette, Vancity Tsawwassen branch manager.
Local small businesses also came to shred their paperwork and pledged donations to Delta Gymnastics, including Vancity, which pledged $500 towards the initiative.
At least 100 people showed up with paper to shred and bottles to recycle, donating the rebates to Delta Gymnastics.
"Some people had small bags, some people had their trunk full of boxes," said Laviolette. "Some people hadn't known about it before hand so they rushed home to find what needed to be shredded. Many asked to repeat this annually."
Eight Delta Gymnastics athletes and a group of volunteer parents helped out as Urban Impact shred a total of 3,100 kilograms of paper.
"Ordinarily, shredding that amount would cost between $1,500 and $1,750", said Mark Popp, from Urban Impact in Richmond. "We were very happy to be part of this community event and support the athletes."
Urban Impact donated its time and services to the Shred-a-thon, which raised $2,862 to help Delta Gymnastics' athletes compete in national and western events.
"Vancity was thrilled that so many people came out to responsibly discard their confidential, sensitive information," said Laviolette.
"Identity theft is biggest crime in North America and the more individuals can do to prevent it, the better. We applaud our member Delta Gymnastics for bringing forward this initiative to us."
Vancity has committed to making the Shred-a-thon an annual event.
"We want to express our appreciation to our sponsors, athletes, parents and the neighbouring businesses who supported the event by donating prizes," said Delta Gymnastics executive director Ana Arciniega. "They were extremely helpful and enthusiastic, they were there all day, shredding with a smile despite the freezing cold and supporting the community."
Delta Gymnastics is located in Ladner at the Delta Sport Development Centre. For information about its programs and events, visit www.deltagymnastics.com.