Burgers & Community Support – Giving Back In February

Article by Guest Writer Jill Moffatt, Canadian Olympic Athlete

With the Winter Olympics taking place throughout February, I thought I would share what it’s like to be an Olympian during a pandemic, and the how important community support is. Thanks for reading along and joining me on my journey to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games!

Big wheel burger supports olympic hopefuls


Hello Again!

And just like that….January is gone! I always find the month is off to a slow start and then you blink and it’s gone. For this blog I want to talk about community support – inspired by Big Wheel Burgers commitment to Our Place’s Coldest Night of the Year walk and fundraiser. 

In case you didn’t hear, Big Wheel will be donating $2 from every feature burger sold in February and providing a $10 gift card for every person who registers and raises at least $20 for the fundraiser walk in Victoria and Langford. If you’d like more information on the walk and how to register, you can find them here.


What a community is to me

When someone says the word community, usually a thought comes to your head. Your own interpretation of the word, either a feeling or image can arise. For me, I immediately think of my close knit community, the people I interact with daily. These days, the rowing community comes to mind as I am surrounded by my teammates, coaches, staff members, and volunteers. But as I expand my thought of community beyond my team, I think of the neighborhood and city I live in.

After spending the last 8 years at Rowing Canada’s National Training Center, I have come to appreciate and truly understand the depth of community support. Whether at my hometown  in the Kawartha Lakes, or the community support I receive on Vancouver Island – it has been my foundation as I train toward my second Olympics.


How the community helps me

On many teams, whether the highschool, university, or international level, you’re likely to rely on donors and fundraisers. Through rowing I always benefited from the donations made to our teams. At times it was in the shape of a new boat the team acquired, or club fees being subsidized – the impact is immediate and always appreciated.

Although I’ve had no problem in advocating and fundraising for my teams, I never thought about asking for personal support. I am lucky enough to receive funding from the federal government that allows me train, covering my basic expenses. It feels selfish to ask for more when we are getting supported to chase our athletic dreams, and it’s a choice we decide to make. 

Unfortunately, the reality for Olympic athletes is that you need every advantage possible, and that costs money. Top nutritional sources, extra physiotherapy/chiro/medical needs, recovery aids, and others, can make the difference. Working while training is nearly impossible as a rower, due to the demanding schedule and centralized program. 

Some are able to overcome the lack of funds and resources, but an already difficult experience is made that much harder.

That’s why I am so lucky to have Big Wheel Burger supporting me. Before the Tokyo Games, I never thought of asking for community support. I didn’t think I deserved it or people cared. Not that I believe I am anymore deserving now, I know that I can ideally make it worthwhile and commit to giving back to the community.


Paying it forward

As a way to express my gratitude for the support I receive, I try to pay it forward. Right now I can’t donate financially, or donate much of my time, but I try to find unique ways to do so. With the world being more remote work savvy, I’ve been able to give back in multiple ways, all while having the flexibility I need.

I am part of two mentorship programs, through Voice in Sport and Classroom Champions, and I volunteer my time at Fast & Female and the Voice in Sport Foundation.

I was connected to all of these programs through sport and I think it’s a great way for me to give back.Through Classroom Champions I am a mentor in multiple classrooms across Canada, where they receive monthly videos and classroom chats with me. It’s so great to talk to the kids and try to inspire them. The questions they have for me are always hilarious and it usually makes my day. 

Through the Voice in Sport Foundation I volunteer my time as their Director in Research and Policy and I spend my time connecting with companies and researchers to fund upcoming sport science that will change the game for female athletes. It feels great to know that the time I’m volunteering is helping work towards equity in sport science research.


Small Businesses and their communities

As someone from a small, wee town in Ontario, I could see the direct and circular relationship that small local businesses and communities had on one another. Communities rally behind their local shops, and these shops always impact the community in a positive way.  At Big Wheel Burger, they believe that businesses succeed in communities that are thriving, and they play an active role in contributing to that. 

As I mentioned in the intro, this month Big Wheel is giving back to their community. I’m super excited that Big Wheels is helping Our Place promote, and support, their Coldest Night Of The Year walk and fundraiser.

Last year Our Place raised over $150,000 through the walk at the WestShore and Victoria – which helps extend the hours of Our Place’s 919 Pandora community centre, allowing it to be open from 6:30am to 8:30pm. This means more programming, increased access to showers, computers, and more one to one contact with Outreach workers, housing advocates, etc.

Big Wheel Burger has inspired me to fundraise for the cause, and I encourage you to do the same! Plus if we fundraise at least $20 we get a $10 gift card, what a win-win! 

Until next month and I hope to see you on the walk at the end of February!


My name is Jill Moffatt and I am an Olympic rower living in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. Big Wheel Burger is supporting me on my path to the Olympics and in exchange I’ll be sharing parts of that journey with you! Follow along each month for behind the scenes stories and other things outside of rowing that I am passionate about. This month I wanted to give an update on my 2022 season and what is coming up this year.Thanks for reading along and joining me on my journey to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games!