When the Crossroads Hospice Society had to reimagine its signature event for this year, staff with the Tri-City-based charity had to think out of the box.
Because of COVID-19, its annual Treasures of Christmas gala couldn’t be held in person nor could the popular live tree auction to support other causes.
Instead, Crossroads came up with a virtual fundraiser called I’ll Be Home For Christmas, a celebration live streamed on YouTube that will be held Nov. 21.
Sponsored in part by the Tri-City News, the gala is targeted to bring in more than $60,000 to care for terminally ill patients at the Port Moody hospice, and support grieving families; that amount is about half from previous years.
Still, organizer Jaimie Jeon said the society hopes to beat that goal with its silent auction, of which all the prizes are “untraditional and COVID friendly.”
Among the socially distanced items on the block are:
• an international COVID hero package — in honour of B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry — includes her book, two bottles of wine from the Clos Du Soleil Winery that Henry co-owns, and two handcrafted masks
• a mind, body and spirit package that includes one month of unlimited classes at Yoga Generation
• a double magnum bottle of 2017 Syrah from the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
• a social bubble adventure to see the lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge
• and a complete set of vintage 2000 NSYNC marionette dolls — just like in their music video for Bye Bye Bye.
Also up for grabs are overnight stays in New Westminster, Whistler and Fairmont Hot Springs; jewellery; food; floral arrangements; and driving lessons.
As for Giving Trees, Jeon said that component has also migrated online.
“Winners” of the trees, which are valued at $5,000 each, get a tax receipt while Crossroads gets 100% of the proceeds; the donated presents under the tree go to support three families who receiving support from Tri-City Transitions as well as the Enchantment Project to help SD43 graduates in financial need pay for their grad activities, makeup and formal wear.
The silent auction closes Nov. 27 at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, the gala will be emceed by the Three Divas (Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson, Port Moody Coun. Diana Dilworth and Anmore Coun. Polly Krier) and Global BC reporter Michael Newman.
And ticket-holders can order their dinner in advance through Port Moody’s Christine Catering, which is giving a portion of its proceeds to Crossroads; the deadline to place a meal is Nov. 19.
Musician Peter Tam will also take requests — at a cost of $5 per song — and there will be other live entertainment during the gala, which is presented by the Port Moody Firefighters’ Charitable Society.
Jeon, Crossroads’ development officer and special event co-ordinator, said the virtual gala is a good way to stay at home during the pandemic while also helping local charities.
“Some unexpected but amazing wins about staging a virtual gala is the assurance that we are doing our part to keep our communities safe during these challenging times and that we are able to widen our outreach and awareness since we are no longer tied by the number of seating at a venue,” she told the Tri-City News. “We have truly seen first-hand the amazing thing that can happen when caring communities come together to support an importance cause such as Crossroads Hospice Society.”
• For tickets or to bid in the silent auction, visit trellis.org/ill-be-home-for-christmas-virtual-gala.