COCHRANE— MacKay’s Ice Cream is the latest sponsor to join Big Hill Haven’s Biz 4 Her annual sponsorship program which encourages businesses to aid the organization in their mission to end domestic abuse.
Owner of MacKay’s Ice Cream Meghan Tayfel made the first $1,000 contribution to the program on Thursday (Aug. 26), outside the establishment that has been scooping sweet treats in Cochrane’s Historic Downtown for nearly 75 years. Big Hill Haven's fund development and public relations officer Tara McFadden and fundraising volunteer Kim Cruickshank were there to celebrate the new sponsorship.
Tayfel said the donation to the Big Hill Haven's women's emergency shelter stands to reaffirm their goal to aid children and families, MacKay’s biggest area of sponsorship attention.
“It’s really important to us to help support the community,” she said. “Big Hill Haven’s Biz 4 Her program in particular … Unfortunately, domestic violence is out there, and for us to be able to support a program that helps women and children get out of those situations and be safe is really important.”
Tayfel, the granddaughter of James and Christina MacKay who took over the Cochrane General Store in 1946 before venturing into making ice cream in 1948, said the nature of the ice cream business means they’ve seen generations of families come in and out of their shop over the years. She and her husband Mark are the third-generation owners of MacKay’s and their children are sixth-generation Cochranites.
“Family is really important to us,” Tayfel said. “The community really supports us as a business, so we in turn, feel it’s really important to support our community.”
MacKay’s is the sixth business to be added to the list of Big Hill Haven’s Biz 4 Her annual sponsorship program which enables businesses to have a direct impact on helping to end domestic abuse in the community. The ice cream shop now proudly adorns a window decal in a show of support to the organization.
“It’s great to have businesses stepping up to find a way to make a difference in these challenging times,” McFadden said. “Domestic violence is an ongoing issue that in times of strife, just gets worse.”
According to Big Hill Haven’s 2020/2021 annual report the organization served 43 clients, provided 278 nights of shelter and raised $297,644, with volunteer hours totalling 796 hours over the course of the year.
In the same report, a message from board chair Valerie Gilmore pointed to the onset of COVID-19, when the organization saw "a significant increase in demand for [Big Hill’s] services.”
Cochrane RCMP also saw mental health calls increase from a total of 161 in 2019 to 210 in 2020, a 23.4 per cent increase, while calls of domestic abuse were comparable or less than the year before.
“Having supports from our local businesses and our community really makes it possible to continue to provide the programming, supports, outreach services and emergency housing that we do,” McFadden said. “It’s thanks to support from MacKay’s, other businesses and the community as a whole that were able to step up and meet the need during this time.”
For more information about Big Hill Haven’s services and the Biz 4 Her program visit bighillhaven.com.