Formal attire optional this Night In Gala being organized by the Maple Ridge Community Foundation for Saturday, June 13. (Maple Ridge Community Foundation/Special to The News)

Formal attire optional this Night In Gala being organized by the Maple Ridge Community Foundation for Saturday, June 13. (Maple Ridge Community Foundation/Special to The News)

Virtual gala brings dinner to the door and money to locals in need

Maple Ridge Community Foundation is holding a ‘Night In Gala’ fundraiser on June 13

In two short weeks, a few hundred supporters are expected to join Steve Darling for a decadent three-course meal aimed at helping raise money for the Maple Ridge Community Foundation.

The key to this gala dinner, however, is that people will be eating from the comfort of their own homes, said Brenda Norrie, the foundation’s business relations manager.

The Night In Gala will be held Saturday, June 13, and is being promoted as a “fun-filled virtual soiree,” she explained.

“We’ll bring the community together in a safe, socially distant way while providing great fun, delicious food, and unique opportunities to celebrate with neighbours and friends, all while raising funds for a meaningful cause together,” Norrie said.

Traditionally, the community foundation’s holds its annual citizen of the year awards dinner in April, and attracted upwards of 250. It usually raises about $60,000. But that event has been postponed until September, at least, and Norrie said the foundation doesn’t know yet what that might look like.

Similarly, the foundation holds a Community FORE Charity Golf Tournament every June, attracting about 150 people who typically help raise about $70,000 towards the foundation’s efforts in the community. That event has been cancelled in light of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions around gatherings of 50 or more people.

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“COVID-19 is dramatically affecting the way we live, but it isn’t changing who we are. Whenever our communities struggle, Canadians rally to support one another. On June 13, we rally. We rally to support each other, we rally to support our local businesses, and we rally to showcase our community’s strength and optimism for our collective future,” Norrie said.

So, this year, the foundation has had to “get creative,” and developed a new event that allows participants to still get dressed up, but stay home and enjoy a meal (a collaborative effort by local restaurateurs from Humble Roots and Big Feast), plus watch various entertainment streamed to their digital device of choice.

“Our variety-show-style entertainment will be fun, inspiring and thought provoking. We hope to bring some joy and excitement to you in your living room to bring us all together, even though we’re physically apart,” Norrie elaborated.

“We’ll keep you on your toes with our variety-show style entertainment that includes music, comedy, magic, dance, and more – we promise you’ll be awed by our wide array of talented performers. And, you’ll have the chance to engage with our performers in some fun, unique ways.”

The event will also include a live and silent action – along with most of the other “familiar elements of a traditional gala,” Norrie said, noting that Darling will be the event’s emcee.

“Dress your best, log on, and dine with us in style,” she said.

The event runs 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 13. The goal with this year’s gala is to raise $30,000, with all proceeds from this event supporting the foundation’s continued work for non-profits, individuals, and families in Maple Ridge.

Tickets are $65, and for $10 more, people can have a foundation board member deliver the meal to their home. Red and white B.C. wines can also be purchased for a further $20. Tickets must be purchased online before noon on June 12.

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