The Toronto International Rifle & Pistol Club recently made a big donation to the Innisfil Food Bank to help local families in need right before Thanksgiving weekend.
Located off Highway 89 and 400, the club has been opened since July 2019 and already has more than 240 members.
Meghan Bilton, the founder of the club and vice-president of operations, wanted to start an annual charity drive with the new club and encouraged its members to help raise money and collect food donations for their local food bank.
“We were able to collect $800 and 144 pounds of food,” said Bilton.
The club dropped off the donation to the Innisfil Food Bank just in time for Thanksgiving weekend.
“We heard that food banks were hit hard during COVID. With families losing their jobs, we wanted to help," she added.
Bilton notes that they wanted to follow suit with other gun clubs by supporting a charity every year and organize a fundraiser. With COVID restrictions, the club chose to focus their support by initiating a food drive instead.
Bilton has been shooting firearms for six years and was on the board of directors for the Barrie Gun Club, where she became an instructor before starting the gun club in Cookstown.
The facility, which also hosts the International Trap & Skeet Club, was one of 30 competition venues in Ontario for the Pan-Am Games in 2015.
Bilton approached the Trap & Skeet Club with a proposal to start a new gun club on the other side of the premises, sharing the space with the other club.
Once approved, it did not take long for the club to gain members almost instantaneously from the area.
“We are always accepting new members,” said Bilton. “We are a very safe and newly renovated with a 50-metre approved shooting club."
The club hosts several multi-gun competitions, tournaments and events with non-restricted firearms and boasts a unique range with a covered outdoor centre.
Bilton shares that the club intends to start collecting next for the Barrie Christmas Cheer Program; a non-profit program that assists families in need of food and toys over the Christmas holidays.
For more information about the Toronto International Rifle & Pistol Club, visit: www.tirpc.ca.