Community leaders in St. Albert are joining forces with the family of Lyle and Marie McCann by helping raise money for a reward aimed at finding the missing couple.

Close to $10,000 has already been raised for the fund from an anonymous donation, organizers told the media today at a news conference spearheaded by municipal officials. That donation is intended to "kickstart" the reward fund, according to organizers, with the total reward money being announced at a later date.

The new reward is in addition to the $2,000 reward being offered by Crime Stoppers for tips leading to the whereabouts of the McCanns.

"This matter has had a tremendous impact on us as a community," explained St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse. "When the McCann's contacted the City last week to discuss how we might be able to do more as a community, this special reward program seemed to be the best next step in raising the stakes; hopefully resulting in key information that will help."

The RCMP supports the special reward project, said Sgt. Tim Taniguchi. "It may assist in getting relevant and reliable information leading to resolution to the case."

The McCanns haven't been seen or heard from since they left their home for a vacation in B.C. on July 3. Surveillance video taken that day captures Lyle, 78, gassing up the couple's motor home at a St. Albert gas bar. Their burnt-out RV was located a week later at the Minnow Lake campground, near Edson. The SUV they were towing was found a few days later partially hidden in the bush near Carrot Creek, about 40 kilometres away from the campground.

Travis Vader has been identified by RCMP as a person of interest in the case. He is in police custody on unrelated charges.

Organizers of the reward fund are hopeful people and groups from across the country will come forward with donations and that the fund will provide incentive for someone to come forward with information about the missing couple. The money will be added to the $1,000 already collected in a trust fund announced by Bret McCann, Lyle and Marie's son last week.

The tipster will be eligible for the reward money if the information provided results in the location of the elderly couple or the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for their disappearance. Unlike the Crime Stoppers program, the tipster will not be able to remain anonymous. Bret McCann says he hopes that doesn't stop somebody from providing valuable information. He describes it as the price of an open and democratic society.

The reward funds will be held in trust by Crime Stoppers for six months but the time frame may be extended. Reward money that is not claimed will be donated to charity at the discretion of the McCann family.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraising campaign can contact Bret McCann at (780) 233-9993 or attend any TD Canada Trust location where a trust fund has been set up under the name "Bret McCann In Trust".

With files from CTV's Susan Amerongen.