‘Garagemahal’ event raises thousands for Big Brothers Big Sisters

SALEM – June 20 marked the seventh year that John Stumpf and his wife Pam have presented “Garagemahal” in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Centre Wellington.

Held on their property in Salem, the event is sponsored by several local businesses and a team of volunteers.

Elora Legion member Jeremy Woods and Grand River Raceway vice president of operations Katie Giddy served as auctioneers at the event.

Giddy hoped to raise $5,000 for BBBS through the auction.

“I’m not stopping until we do,” Woods said at the event. “We’re going to stay until we get there.”

“It is such an incredible event,” Giddy said. “[The Stumpfs’] generosity is next-level. We’re so excited to play a very small part in making the night a success.”

The auction brought in over $9,000 and along with ticket sales and other donations, Garagemahal was able to present a cheque for $40,970.04 to BBBS this year, bringing the seven year total to $145,970.04.

The event featured a car show, local beverages and food, scotch and cigars, and a DJ.

Guest speaker for the evening was Dana Donovan, who became a big brother about a year ago “because I couldn’t find a reason to say no anymore.

“It’s been fantastic. We do something he wants to do every week.

“We both make suggestions, but ultimately it comes down to what he wants to do.”

At the BBBS awards ceremony this year, Donovan won the Big Star award, given to an outstanding mentor.

“After the award was presented, Pam asked if I would speak at the BBBS event here. I’m not nervous in front of crowds, but I may get emotional,” Donovan said.

“From a monetary perspective, it’s great that they raise money here. But ultimately, the whole idea behind this is to get some male mentors to sign up. We’ve got way too many boys waiting.”

Pam Stumpf added, “The goal is to create awareness about the needs of BBBS.”

Currently, there are 26 kids on the waiting list, with the majority being “really great little guys,” Stumpf said.

Volunteer mentors don’t need specific skills, Stumpf noted. “You don’t need to have worked with children before. The (BBBS) staff is incredible.

“They will walk you through every step of the way.”

At the end of the evening, Stumpf was “approached by two people who are interested in becoming a big brother and a big sister.

“That’s what the evening is all about.”

Stumpf noted that continued support from community businesses and residents have been instrumental in the success of the event over the years.

“We live in such an amazing community. John and I are so grateful for the support,” Stumpf said.