Benefit dinner more successful than last year

Drawing 262 people, the annual “Community Chest” benefit dinner last night at La Place Rendez- Vous raised $16,200 to provide financial aid to local families who may need help to cover medical costs “It went extremely well,” enthused Georges Blanc, who helped organize the dinner as both coowner of the Rendez-Vous and a member of the local Knights of Columbus.
“I think we probably raised as much as we had at any other one of these dinners,” he added.
Last year’s dinner brought in about $14,000.
The funds raised included proceeds from dinner tickets ($6,550), with the balance coming from auctions and raffles.
The live auction alone brought in $4,320, with the top items being a diamond bracelet from Brockie’s Jewellers and an Adirondack furniture set donated by Blanc.
The “Community Chest” benefit dinner is organized each year by members of the local KCs, Kiwanis, and Lions clubs, the “Spirit of Christmas” committee, and the Rendez-Vous staff.
Guest speaker Glenn Witherspoon spoke about his time as chair of the “Smart Growth” panel for Northwestern Ontario and what the region needs to see done—such as keeping youth here and freeing up Crown Land for private development—to ensure its vitality.
He was followed by Aileen Brown, grandmother of Amanda Jerry, who spoke on the importance of being an organ donor.
She noted as the statistics stand now, the average person in Ontario is more likely to need an organ transplant than to be an organ donor, She stressed only one-sixth of the transplants in Ontario come from organs donated by Ontarians— the rest have to come from out of province.
Jerry received a lung transplant several years ago but still passed away afterwards.
Linda Hamilton, with the “Spirit of Christmas” committee, also spoke on the new volunteer driver program, sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Society and “Community Chest.”^Through this program, which is headed by Evelyn Rawn and Davetta Sheppard, volunteers can transport those in need of medical treatment either to Winnipeg or Thunder Bay, for instance, or maybe just to the local airport.
Kiwanis president Rob Tovey, Lions president Dick Bird, Cecil Duffy of the Knights of Columbus, Hamilton, and Blanc all gave brief speeches on the importance of the “Community Chest” and how much they look forward to supporting the charity in the year ahead.
Blanc and Hamilton also gave out three plaques to guests who have made considerable contributions to the charity in one way or another over the years.
Auctioneer Telford Advent, who Blanc says always pays for his own ticket, was given a plaque, as were Lois and Ernie Thompson of Ernest Thompson Distributors for donating food to the dinner.
And Helen Pohanka, representing the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary Br. #29, got a plaque because the Legion ladies have contributed financially to the “Community Chest” in the past, including donating $5,000 to the cause just this past December.
Laureen Vandetti, on behalf of the “Spirit of Christmas” committee, also handed over a cheque for $6,020 to the “Community Chest” last night. This amount is above the $16,200 raised at the dinner.
“Basically, we’re depositing $22,000 in the bank today or tomorrow,” said Blanc.
And as always, dinner guests had lots to bid on—with a slew of items donated by local businesses and individuals up for bid in both the silent and live auctions.
All of the food served at the benefit supper was donated by local businesses and individuals to reduce costs and thus maximize proceeds. And Rendez-Vous staff donated their time to work at the dinner.
The Muskie cheerleaders also volunteered their time and helped staff serve last night’s meal.