As area Trails to Treatments program has grown, so, too, has its fundraising totals

    Their mission is to assist those in need of funding during their treatment of cancer and they’re doing just that. North Country Horsemen Saddle Club’s (NCHSC) Trails To Treatments have given out $388,700 in grants in the last eight years and they’re shooting for the sky in 2019.

    It all started in 2008 when the NCHSC, a nonprofit that has been around since 1974, teamed up with a friend to do a fundraiser and the idea came about to establish Trails To Treatments. A short time later, TTT was off and running.

    TTT committee members Sue Helm and Stacy Bierman told the Times that separate fundraising teams started forming around 2015 and by 2018 they had 14 teams servicing six counties which include Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, and Polk.

    “Fundraising efforts have more than doubled since we brought on more teams to join our mission,” Helm explained. “At the end of last year’s big event in Middle River, teams themselves brought in $49,114 to the grant program.”

    “The Gentilly Rockey Ridge Riders from Polk County won the top spot this year and are on the new (traveling) trophy for raising $15,200,” she added. “The year before they raised around $7,000.”

    So, how does the grant program work? It’s one of the easiest grant applications to fill out, committee members say, and, sometimes, people don’t believe how easy it is. It’s one sheet of paper and recipients can use the money how they see fit whether it’s for traveling expenses, to pay bills, or for any other need.

    The TTT grant application is available at www.northcountryhorsemen.com/trails-to-treatments or through a committee member. Teams hope to spread the word even further about the program and have applications available at local oncology offices.

    Interested in putting together a team? You can do that, too. Teams can put on their own fundraisers or partner with others to help raise money for the program.

    “All money raised locally is given locally,” Helm continued. “There’s no overhead and you won’t see anybody driving around in a new Mercedes.”

    “We have a great base of committee people and our organization has been blessed with enough money to not have to turn anyone away yet,” she added.

    The grant program currently offers $700 per recipient and recipients can reapply after a full calendar year if they need more assistance. To date, TTT has issued 742 grants and “touched” 616 people with their kindness. 93 of those applicants have come back multiple times.

    “It’s taken on a life of its own,” said Helm. “More people probably need to receive our grants.”

    This year’s top fundraising team, the Gentilly Rockey Ridge Riders, has some events down the pipeline including their upcoming Meat & Basket Raffles in March starting with March 4 at the Snow Sled Inn in Gentilly, March 8 at I.C. Muggs in Crookston, March 11 at the Snow Sled Inn, March 15 at the Other Place in Fertile, March 18 at the Snow Sled Inn, March 22 at the VFW in Crookston, March 25 at the Snow Sled Inn, and March 29 at Lakeview Resort in Mentor. They’ll also be raffling off snowshoes at the end of March.

    Other teams host walleye suppers, vintage snowmobile shows, Thanksgiving bashes, trail rides, “Trash the Dress” events, and the “Klub Club” puts on a meal in Middle River. Plus, Gentilly Days in the summer is a big fundraising opportunity. In 2019, the Snow Sled Inn will celebrate their 50th anniversary during the festival.

    Private donations or fundraising proceeds given to Trails To Treatment are always appreciated. For more information about donating in Polk County, contact Bonnie Christians at (218) 891-5640 or email b.christians@hotmail.com. For more info on North Country Horsemen Saddle Club or Trails for Treatment, contact Mardy Anderson at (218) 689-2063 or Stacy Bierman at (218) 686-7074, email trailstotreatments@hotmail.com, or mail checks or applications to: NCH Trails To Treatments - P.O. Box 161 - Middle River, MN 56737.