More than 14,000 people were involved in the world record-breaking harvest south of Winkler last weekend.
Harvest For Kids Director Dave Thiessen explains it was a surreal moment to see thousands of people come to watch the life-changing spectacle on Saturday.
"Everyone just came together, the whole community," he says. "It was one of those moments where you are called to do something... after two years of planning, this was the moment God has called me for. It was pretty special."
Thiessen says it was an emotional punch to see and hear from the spectators and volunteers on how the event moved them. "There were so many different moments like that, it was a whirlwind day."
Online, he notes people from 50 different countries tuned in to the livestream on Saturday that saw 303 combines harvest a winter Wheat field outside of Winkler, beating the last record of 244 combines working simultaneously.
The event was a fundraising and awareness building event for Children's Camps International, a Winkler-based ministry that sends kids to faith-based camps in the developing world. Because it costs $5 per child, CCI set the goal of raising $5 million to send one million children to camp.
However, Thiessen says the event was only a starting point, and staff expects donations to continue to roll in. He says they hope to have a preliminary tally in about a week's time.
"This is the start of the fundraising process, over the next couple of months we're looking forward to seeing how this event has generated the money we're looking for to send kids to camp."
He says the harvest has garnered attention from around the world, including a major farm publication in Australia. That awareness connects more people to the non-profit and opportunities for sponsorship. "The real fundraising starts now," Thiessen says.