ROARING 20: Each year port terminals and suppliers comes together to support communities where they work, live and play. Presented by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, this year’s fundraising dinner was a Roaring 20s theme to mark the event’s 20th anniversary.
Due to a labour dispute, the much-anticipated party had to be moved at the last minute from the Westin Bayshore to the Sheraton Wall Centre — almost fitting for the Speakeasy soirée to be held in the hotel’s below-ground ballroom. For one night, the property was transformed, whisking guests back to the 1920s, where period cocktails, costumes and performances greeted patrons.
Five major port terminals — Port of Vancouver, Global Container Terminals, Fraser Surrey Docks, Western Stevedoring, and DP World Vancouver — and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority once again led the charge. A capacity crowd made the scene to make a positive and lasting impact in the communities where they operate. The night of fundraising and camaraderie would support three local organizations: Vancouver Downtown Eastside’s Mission Possible, North Shore’s Harvest Project and South of the Fraser’s Reach Child and Youth Development Society.
CEOs of the big six companies, Robin Silvester of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Eric Waltz of Global Containers, Jeff Scott of Fraser Surrey Docks, Brad Eshleman of Western Stevedoring, Doron Grosman of Global Container Terminals and Maksim Mihic of DP World chaired the milestone merrymaker. Attendees poured over an impressive display of silent auction items during the cocktail reception and feverishly raised their paddles on seven live auction packages Global B.C.’s Coleen Christie and yours truly orchestrated following the main course.
Bucket-list experiences to Tofino, Okanagan and Iceland, and a private gourmet dinner for 10 with celebrity chef and Great Canadian Baking Show judge Bruno Feldeisen, garnered the evening’s top bids. Coupled with silent auction and raffle proceeds, the royal flap would reportedly net $210,000, ensuring each charity received $70,000 to go toward supporting their good work.
“Since 1999 when the event was originally attended by 100 guests to raise funds for Mission Possible, the Port Gala has raised in excess of $2.1 million dollars,” said Silvester, addressing attendees following the successful night.
The money has supported local organizations whose work encourages and facilitates a higher quality of life in our port region, he adds. These organizations are committed to improving the lives of thousands of people in our communities and continue to make a difference year after year.
Delta South MLA Ian Paton and City of Delta councilor Dylan Kruger were among politicos helping mark the charity dinner’s 20th anniversary. Photo: Fred Lee.
Care B.C. Gala Dinner
HAPPY MEALS: Since its inception in 1967, Health and Home Care Society of B.C.’s Meals on Wheels program has been providing meals to seniors and others housebound due to chronic conditions, illness, injury or surgery.
The program, which began with a handful of meals delivered in Kitsilano, now delivers daily to some 1,300 isolated Vancouver and Richmond residents. In 1996, Care B.C. expanded its program launching a Chinese Meals on Wheels service in partnership with SUCCESS. In total, over 126,000 meals are delivered annually by an army of dedicated English and Chinese speaking volunteers,
To ensure ongoing delivery of its meal service — a lifeline for many of its clients — Care B.C. executive director Inge Schamborzki and president Tom Chambers fronted their 11th annual fundraising dinner and auction at Vancouver’s Kirin Restaurant. MLAs Linda Reid and Mike de Jong were among an impressive and influential group that gathered to enjoy a multi-course Cantonese dinner and learn of the charitable programs they would be supporting.
In addition to the Meals on Wheels program, Care B.C. also runs a Family Respite Centre, offering temporary respite care to families and caregivers in need of a break, and a community integration Initiative helping those with newly acquired brain injury or physical disabilities integrate back into the community. As always, the event had all the party trimmings — a raffle, silent and live auction and paddle raise.
A luxury Langara Fishing Lodge package in spectacular Haida Gwaii garnered the night’s top bid, closely followed by a Vancouver Firefighters Dinner, sold twice. Cash donations ranging from $100 to $2,500 flooded in during the call out for cash, but the biggest highlight of the night came when 95-year-old Helen Shore, a longtime volunteer, donor, and now Meals on Wheels client, made her way to the stage.
Shore shared news she had to leave the gala dinner early to make curfew at her senior’s residence, but not before endorsing the services provided by Care B.C. and dropping a $50,000 cheque. Shore’s good humour, timing and generous donation brought everyone to their feet, sending Shore home in grand style. The surprise gift announcement punctuated a delicious and memorable night. More than $130,000 was reportedly raised, shattering last year’s record by $20,000.
“All of Care B.C.’s services (Meals on Wheels, Family Respite Centre, and the Community Integration Program) have as their goal — to enable people to safely remain living in their own homes and communities for as long as they are able and choose to do so,” says Schamborzki. “Everyone tonight has made that possible.”
Brandon Jansen Foundation Gala
A MOM’S DEDICATION: In 2016, Michelle Jansen lost her 20-year old son Brandon to an accidental fentanyl overdose. Since her son’s passing, the Coquitlam single mom has been a tireless and outspoken advocate sharing her personal tragedy publicly to bring attention to the opioid crisis gripping communities in B.C. and across the country.
Jansen reportedly spent more than $200,000 to privately fund treatments for her middle son to get clean. He overdosed at a treatment centre on the Sunshine Coast. It was his 12th treatment centre in three years. A bed at a treatment centre can cost up to $12,000 per month, Jansen shared.
In memory of her son, Jansen eventually founded the Brandon Jansen Foundation to create greater awareness of the national epidemic and to provide education and resources for individuals and families dealing with addiction. She and a dedicated group of volunteers would steer the firm’s second annual fundraising dinner and auction. Staged at The Terminal City Club, some 250 supporters attended the Diamond Gala. The sparkly affair had all the elements for a successful night — from the royal repast to the myriad of fundraising games and live entertainment, it was the perfect party mix.
Messages of hope and healing from Jansen and special guest Trisha Meili, and original music by recording artist Casey Jones saw guests opening their hearts and wallets. In partnership with Together We Can, a leading treatment and recovery centre, net proceeds from the night of bling will fund treatment beds for those seeking help.
“This year’s gala message is about hope. My hope is that we can stop this crisis,” said Jansen, addressing the capacity crowd. “After the loss of my son, I knew I had to do something to prevent this heartache from happening to another parent, family, community, province and country. Through change, awareness and action, we will save lives.”
Keynote Trisha Meili shared her personal journey of healing and hope with gala-goers, including committee member Sheina Delorme. Photo: Fred Lee.