St. Paul's Anglican Church Community Hall in Southampton was the venue for Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope party on the afternoon of Sunday, September 20.
This was the second year for the event with over $44,000 being raised last year in support of vulnerable children and families around the world.
Plan Canada is one of the oldest and largest development agencies in the world. It is a non profit organization with a goal to end global poverty and to improve the lives of children worldwide.
This year's event, which was organized by Southampton residents Maureen Simpson and Karen Lyons, saw the community hall filled with people from the start, perusing the Gifts of Hope catalogue, through which they could purchase a variety of life-saving gifts to help a child or family in need such as food baskets, clean water and schooling. The donations are then matched by Plan Canada, who works with other large organizations.
Although held at the church's community hall, the event was non-denominational and promoted as a community party for all.
Refreshments were served by volunteers, which included coffee provided by South Stables Coffee House in Southampton, punch and a large selection of desserts from community members. Local musicians Kim Lake and John Stewart provided musical entertainment.
Plan Canada representative, Julie Vickerman had come from Toronto for the event. “All of these gifts that you see are part of our bigger program, so this is just a component we pull out of the larger project.”
Vickerman explained that they have large official partners like the Government of Canada and the World Food Program. “We submit proposals, very complex proposals to them for the funding, so then they commit say $2 million and then we commit as an organization to fund raise say $500,000, so that's where the matching comes in and that's why our match rates are so high.”
The total merchandise and donations raised was $5,698 with the match bringing the total to $37,496.