On April 27, the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre hosted a benefit lunch in aid of the displaced seniors in Ukraine. The two-hour event included the luncheon prepared by centre chef, Emily McPherson, and her crew of volunteers (it included cabbage rolls and traditional babka cake for dessert); a silent auction; a raffle; a 50/50 draw as well as a few door prizes. The auditorium was decorated with donated white tablecloths and each table had a centre-piece of yellow Gerbera daisies and blue ribbons, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
With 130 people in attendance, the program started off with a welcome from S.S.A.C. President, Gillian Smith and an introduction to the first speaker Daria Anico-Taveres who gave a very moving talk on her journey from Ukraine and what conditions are currently like there, what millions of displaced Ukrainians are experiencing and what the Sunshine Coast could expect to see in the coming weeks including the imminent arrival of several families and those who are newly arrived from Ukraine.
JoAnne Bentley then sang three classic folk survival songs from the 1960s and 70s, a cappella. Tears were shed by more than a few listeners.
Next, came a short, personalized video message from Gregor Sneddon, CEO of HelpAge Canada, the organization that was chosen as the recipient charity. He underscored the fact that one in four people in Ukraine are over 60 years of age, stressing this population’s needs for humanitarian relief in Ukraine and neighbouring countries such as Moldova.
The local trio Martini Madness performed several songs with Kevin Crofton finishing off with a song called Ukrayina that he composed for Ukraine. The audience joined in an emotional singing of the chorus with him.
The Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre would like to thank the many generous donors that made this event the success it was.
The many volunteers also need to be acknowledged because without them, this event could not have taken place – thank you all. And a special thank you to all the people who made extra donations over and above the price of admission.
This benefit raised more than $7,000. It was heartwarming to see our seniors centre members and our Sunshine Coast community coming together in camaraderie and support.