Huge crowd helps United Way campaign
It’s a fundraising campaign that goes on all year and never really ends.
But the holiday season is a big part of it, for the United Way/ Centraide of SD&G, which recently had its signature event – the sixth-annual Holiday Wine and Gourmet Tastings event.
“(It’s this time of year) when we have our signature event and major push,” said Meagan Bingley, the United Way/Centraide of SD&G director of operations.
Bingley said the wine tastings night drew a gathering of 550, the most ever.
“We had record-breaking attendance at our wine event, it was the most successful signature event to date,” she said. “It was nice to see the room full – we used two rooms (including an overflow room). . . we’re truly blown away with the continued support (of the United Way).”
The event, sponsored by Xplornet Communications Inc., held at NAV Centre, had guests enjoying tastings from chef Luc McCabe from the NAV kitchen, wines sponsored by CMG Innovations, as well as cider and signature cocktails.
Guests were able to bid on silent and live auction items and win prizes that included diamond earrings courtesy of Pommier Jewellers, and designer wallets with $1,000 in cash tucked inside from Welch LLP.
There was a Wine for a Year prize, which included 52 bottles from around the world, and sponsored by Olsonfab Metal Fabrication.
Live entertainment included David Jans touring the room and dazzling guests with his magic, soft jazz by Robert Cote and a performance from the Dueling Pianos.
The chairs of the event, Karen and Ray Brunet, were thrilled with all aspects of the night.
“The room was electric,” Karen brunet said. “over the past five years we’ve had a part of organizing this night, and I think we hit it out of the park this year. The tastings and wine were excellent, the room was alive with excitement and the response after the event has been very positive.”
said bingley: “This event is about kicking off the holiday season, bringing the community together and raising awareness for the united way.
“all the money that we fundraise stays local (in sd&G). . . every donation, sponsorship and investment that you make is helping our community. It’s not about the (dollar amount), it’s about the number of lives that we’re changing in sd&G.”
For the second straight year, at the launch of the 2018-19 united way fundraising community campaign back in september, no dollar goal was announced.
bingley acknowledged it’s a “tough decision to go that route” and not announce a fundraising goal, but that it’s more important for the united way and the community to focus “on the 14 agencies that we support, (on the) lives that we’re changing. That sometimes gets lost (when a dollar amount is announced).”
The united way’s internal numbers, bingley noted, point to a current campaign that is going well.
“we’re definitely on track (in relation to where) we were last year,” she said. “For the total campaign, if it broke $1 million, there’d still be more that we need to do, so we’re not focusing on the number.” another big event is coming up for the united way, the celebration sleigh raffle, with the grand prize draw at noon on dec. 14 at canadian Tire.
The sleigh continues to be on display at baxtrom’s your Independent Grocer, but a unionized worker’s strike at the store has led to some changes.
“we’ve relocated our volunteers to canadian Tire,” bingley said, noting the final weekly draw of $200 in gift cards will be this Friday.
celebration sleigh raffle tickets are for sale at title sponsor bmo bank of montreal, the baxtrom’s courtesy desk, the united way office at 55 water st. (suite 240) and this weekend at canadian Tire when united way volunteers are present.
Event sponsors, gathered at the sixth-annual United Way/Centraide of SD&G Holiday Wine and Gourmet Tastings event, at NAV Centre last month.