Bottle drive to raise money for missing girl

The family of Mekayla Bali is continuing the search for the missing girl, who disappeared in April of this year. The family is in the process of raising money for a reward for information leading to her recovery, and one of the ways they are raising money is a bottle drive in conjunction with SARCAN in Yorkton.

This is a first for SARCAN, allowing people to designate their recycling to go towards a charity cause. People who bring in their bottles can indicate to staff or place a note on the bags that they would like the bottles to go to the “Let’s Bring Mekayla Bali Home” fund.

Gerry Ann Fraser was inspired to arrange the fundraiser after meeting Paula Bali at SARCAN when dropping off her own bottles with her grandson Nicholas.

“I never really, truly realized how grave the situation was... I actually didn’t realize how much distress the family was in until the day we came to SARCAN. Paula and her family are doing a fantastic job with what they’re dealing with, but they shouldn’t be in the position that they’re in.”

The result of that meeting was Fraser proposing doing a bottle drive with SARCAN. She says her plan was to simply have SARCAN itself as a drop off point for a bottle drive, but says it was tied with a trial program to raise money for community projects. This will be a first for SARCAN in the city.

Fraser believes that Yorkton is a great community in which to raise a kid, and she believes that part of the reason for that is the potential for the community to come together and help each other in times of need.

“One of our kids is missing, and we need to come together to help this family.”

The goal is to raise $25,000 for reward for any information regarding the whereabouts of Mekayla. The idea behind the reward is to bring forward people who might have been reluctant before to come forward with information.

“We want Mekayla back, whatever the circumstances are... Who knows what the scenario is, but we’ve got to try.”

Fraser believes it’s important to remember the other members of the family as well, whether it’s Mekayla’s mother or her two siblings.

“When those two other siblings are grown, they will be able to look back to Yorkton and be able to say, you know, look at all these people who came together to help our mom, no matter how it turns out. Whether it turns out good, whether it turns out bad, whether it turns out ugly. Those two kids will be able to grow up and know SARCAN took those bottles for a month to help their mom.”

Paula Bali, Mekayla’s mother, says they are above $18,000 for the reward after two steak fundraisers as well as an earlier bottle drive. Bali says they hope that they don’t need the reward, but that they want to do anything they can to jog people’s memories and bring Mekayla back.

“We’re hoping for that phone call any minute, saying that she has been found.”

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