Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) hosted its It Takes A Village fundraiser on Friday (Dec. 10), despite stormy conditions. Over 100 people attended the annual fundraising event, according to Jacqueline Neligan, LaFF executive director.
“The whole theme of It Takes a Village really came into play when the wind picked up and tents were literally starting to fly across the parking lot,” Neligan said. A couple teachers from the high school helped to anchor tents down in the wind. “They were like the last-minute heroes for the event,” she said.
She was impressed by how many families came out in the rain. “As a LaFF team, we are feeling so grateful to the community for showing up and for sponsoring this event and helping us help others this time of year and throughout the coming year,” she said.
In previous years, LaFF hosted a breakfast with Santa event, but this year and last it had to modify its annual fundraiser because of COVID-19.
Families purchased tickets to the event for $80 and got to go to each “village station,” where there were packages created and sponsored by volunteers. Among these were crafts for families to do together. One station gave out a letter making kit, which Neligan said was inspired by a summer LaFF employee.
“Whenever we have a volunteer or staff, my intention is to let them do things that are meaningful to them,” she said. “You can kind of see the way that we are not just surviving, but thriving is by finding those opportunities to engage people in ways that are meaningful.”
Volunteers started working on the packages for the event in June.
“Every component is so full of love and we keep having different people come through just to get a tour and see — and I would say 85, maybe 90 per cent of people that come through end up in tears just because they cannot believe just how much thought and love and community connection there still is in a time when there’s very little of that because of COVID,” Neligan said.
The LaFF program supports about 500 families throughout the year and she said it hopes to be able to do more indoor programming, similar to what it did before COVID-19 in the new year.