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Posted: January 26, 2016

CHR family event at Prestige Jan. 30

“Help us help them have a new beginning!”

That’s the theme of what’s hoped to be a big fundraiser dinner and dance at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort Saturday, Jan. 30 with profits going to the Cranbrook Hub for Refugees (CHR), to help them sponsor a refugee family in Cranbrook.

The family-style event in the Prestige Grand Ballroom features a three-course dinner, live musical entertainment and a silent auction in aid of CHR’s efforts to have a refugee family from Syria or elsewhere arriving in the Key City by spring.

The volunteer group has raised more than $20,000 so far, but needs at least another $20,000 to bring the family to Cranbrook and support them here for at least a year.

“We’re off to a good start but more money is needed to make this humanitarian project a success,” said CHR co-chair Bonnie Spence-Vinge.

The fun starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 each, which includes everything except drinks and children under 10 are admitted free. Tickets are available at Snapd East Kootenay Tix (online), Lotus Books and some CHR Members.

“It should be an awesome evening,” said Verna Oderkirk-Bungay, a member of the Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS), the main organizers of the event. “When you have a cause like this it really helps to get people out so our goal is to raise the next $10,000 or whatever we can raise.”

FPPAS President Jamie Neve, also a guest musician, agrees. “I think people are looking for a meaningful way to support this endeavour and bring the community together for an evening of entertainment, dancing and food.”

Neve, a well-known singer/songwriter in the local entertainment scene, says people are usually more generous when they know the fun they’re having is going to support a good cause. “It’s really about the community coming together and improving our quality of life.”

Tom Bungay, lead vocals and rhythm guitar for the band East-West Connection, says party goers can expect a dynamic mix of country-rock, classic rock, folk and traditional East Coast Celtic music from the group. “We’re hoping for a lot of participation and dancing from the audience because that’s what gets us going.” Sing-a-longs are also part of the group’s repertoire, he says.

And the food will be great, said Tracy Thistle, convention and sales manager for the Prestige. Roast chicken, potato salad with champagne mustard, a garden salad, hot rolls and dessert will be just part of the fare. “And we absolutely like to support a good cause anyway we can,” Thistle says.

In addition to bidding on around 30 items in the silent auction, participants will be able to donate directly to the refugee project by writing cheques payable to Christ Church Anglican and putting CHR or refugee project on the subject line. Charitable tax receipts will be issued for all donations made this way, but regulations do not allow tax receipts to be issued for the tickets themselves.

Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski
Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski

The project, which started last fall and gained momentum through the Christmas season, recently won the endorsement of newly-elected Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski.

“I am very proud of the citizens of Cranbrook who are demonstrating their compassion for refugees who are fleeing war, oppression and/or extreme poverty. Canada has long been a country that welcomes immigrants, and immigrants have played an important role in making our country the great place that it is today,” he said.

Stetski says he looks forward to welcoming new citizens from Syria and other countries to a number of communities around the riding. “My sincere thanks to all those who are making it happen!”

For more information on the event, call Bonnie Spence-Vinge at (250) 426-4274 or Verna Oderkirk-Bungay at (250) 919-0401.

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