‘Black & White’ gala rakes in the green

Ken Kellar

It was certainly a night to remember, full of people dressed to the nines enjoying a fancy night out to support a good cause.

The Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s “Black & White” gala took place on Saturday night at the Copper River Inn, and Foundation director Allison Cox said the night was a great success.

“We’re really happy with how it went,” Cox said.

“Really happy with the amount of money we raised. The piece of equipment we were raising funds for came in at $25,000 so we’ve hit that goal mark, we’re really happy with that.

“Everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves, it was a really nice opportunity for people in the district to get out and have a nice classy evening,” she added.

Pending a few more invoices that had yet to come in when Cox spoke with the Times, she estimated that the event had raised a grand total of roughly $27,000, which was enough to cover the purchase of a new microbiology system for the network of health care facilities that rely on it, including La Verendrye Hospital, the Emo and Rainy River Health Centres, the Emo and Rainy River Clinics and the Atikokan General Hospital.

The annual gala provided the public an opportunity to dress up a bit, and those in attendance took advantage of it, with fine suits and sleek dresses, as well as a few co-ordinated group costumes.

As good as the people at the event looked, the facility itself was certainly no slouch either, with Cox and her committee putting in the hours to spiff up the space at the Copper River Inn.

“Our committee was there the day before doing the set up of all the decor,” Cox noted.

“We were really lucky this year in that we had it at a venue where there was staff to do some stuff as well. In the past we’ve had it at, say like the arena, where we’re responsible for all set-up.

“So when we went in on Friday the tables were already set up where they needed to be, tablecloths were already on them, place settings, everything, so all we had to do was go in and work our magic to kind of dress the room up a little bit more,” she added.

To complement the looks of the venue, the gala featured a list of activities for those in attendance to take part in, both to help the Foundation with its fundraising goals, as well as for a chance to take home some choice prizes. Patrons to the gala perused the silent auction and penny tables, had their photos taken by Amanda Caron of Honey & Clove photography, and bought tags in hopes of winning the grand prize, a bar cart loaded with $1,000 worth of alcohol, which went to Julie Loveday at the end of the night.

There was plenty of entertainment to be had during the night as well. As guests filed into the dining room, the strings of the Rainy Lake Community Orchestra washed over them, serenading everyone with the sounds of classy music and some classic movie themes.

Following the dinner, Telford Advent of Riverbend Auction Services had the crowd in stitches as he worked his magic to sell a handful of choice items, driving some hard bargains to boot.

Cox said it’s a pleasure to see how much the public responds to the work that goes into throwing one of the Foundation’s galas.

“It’s always so great,” she said.

“We work on this for about six months. Six months of planning go into it, so to see how well received it is and to hear how enjoyable it is for people is always such a nice feeling, especially for the ladies on the special events committee who do this strictly out of their own kindness. It’s volunteer work for them . . . and it’s all going to a great cause.”

While the committee and volunteers who make the gala such a success get a few months’ break before they’re at work, there are other events on the horizon that the Foundation will shortly be turning its eye to.

“Our spring luncheon takes place in April, so planning for that will be getting going here pretty soon,” Cox noted.

Cox also stressed that it takes a village to make the gala successful, and she is thankful to all who take part.

“We’re just sending out a huge thank you to everyone that donated, everyone that sponsored, everyone that attended, all of our volunteers, just everyone that helped to make the event such a success,” she said.