Fundraiser evening to assist Ruiter family after devastating dairy barn fire

Shown here are images from the 'Blackrapids Farmfest' Facebook event page contrasting Peter and Rosemary Ruiter's dairy farm before and during the devastating Sept. 8 fire. The fundraiser event to benefit the Ruiters is set for Oct. 14 in North Gower.

‘Blackrapids Farmfest: An evening with the Ruiters’ scheduled Oct. 14

OTTAWA — ‘Ignore the rain, look at the rainbow.’

These words are inspiring both Peter and Rosemary Ruiter and the whole community in the aftermath of a devastating Sept. 8 fire that destroyed three barns, an 80-cow dairy herd and the livelihood of the Ruiter family. The landmark farm on Prince of Wales in Nepean was considered by many as a beacon of agricultural excellence for the community.

The community wants to show its support for the Ruiters in their time of need, and the Ruiters want to give thanks to their many friends, family and strangers who have shown such inspirited generosity. This celebration will take place on Saturday, Oct. 14th at the North Gower Community Centre with the ‘Blackrapids Farmfest: An evening with the Ruiters’.  All are welcome.

“The outpouring of generosity and help has been overwhelming. My family and I are so grateful,” says Peter Ruiter. “I just consider myself to be a regular guy who has always helped my neighbours and community as best I can. But this response has been…  Well, it’s been humbling to say the least.”

When asked what his plans are for the future, Ruiter responds, “It’s too early to make any big decisions just yet. We are still in clean-up mode and assessing the damage. There is a lot to consider and I am not going to make any rushed decisions.”

The evening will start with a quieter reception from 6 to 8 p.m. with coffee and desserts being served.

This time is to accommodate those who would like to drop by and visit, but can’t stay the whole evening.  From 8 until 9 p.m. there will be speeches and a live auction, followed by a dance, buffet and silent auction. Admission is free, however, donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.

“Our goals for the evening are two-fold,” explains Wyatt McWilliams, event co-chair. “One is to raise as much money as we can to help Peter and Rosie recoup their losses. And two, is to show our support from the community for which they have helped so much. They have always been there whenever the community needed something, now it’s our pleasure to be there for them.”

Anyone wishing to support this event with an item for the live or silent auctions may do so by contacting Jane Schoones at JSchoones@rogers.com. Donations are also being accepted through a gofundme campaign. Check for more details at the event’s Facebook page at Blackrapids Farmfest.

The event is being organized by a committee made up of representatives from the many service organizations that the Ruiters have been and are involved with — including the Ottawa-Carleton Milk Committee, Ottawa Federation of Agriculture, Junior Farmers Association, and St. Monica’s Church, among others.

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