$131,000 RAISED: Garden party sets up roots at new venue

$131,000 RAISED: Garden party sets up roots at new venue

In front (L-R) are Denise Labelle-Gélinas

CORNWALL, Ontario – Celebrating 10 years, Rachel’ Kids annual garden party fundraiser marked its milestone with a change of venues over the weekend.

Traditionally, held in the garden, at the home of founder, Dr. Rachel Navaneelan, the popular event changed venues to accommodate its growing attendance, this year.

“This wonderful fundraiser, with such a generous community, has become too big for a back yard, so (NavCentre) seemed a perfect place,” said Gillian Oxley-Harper, board vice-chair and media liaison. “It’s our biggest fundraiser in terms of attendance.”

The day included live and silent auctions, lots of good food and entertainment by Graham Greer, Roxanne Delage and DJ Sound.

More than $131,000 was raised this year.

“Local restaurants, Eight Zero Zero and Table 21/Truffles have supported us throughout the years and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. The local businesses have also been awesome.”

The board of directors is very enthusiastic to introduce its recently appointed executive director, Kim Lauzon, said Oxley-Harper, who hinted at many new local initiatives to come for the not-for-profit organization. Details will follow, she added.

Lauzon’s full-time presence will get the word out to people who share our vision, and to help us raise funds, added Navaneelan, who noted that they are not using any money from the charity, for this position. “It’s private funding that’s paying her. She’s been a welcome addition to this, doing fabulous, amazing work with us.”

Rachel’s Kids donates an unprecedented 95% to its projects (of that 80% locally and 20% abroad), added Oxley Harper. “It was very important for us to find a way to pay for (Lauzon) that still allowed us to say that.”

As well as the new initiatives to come, Rachel’s Kids also continues its ongoing work on the pediatric ward at the Cornwall Community Hospital. “It’s going to take a few years, but we are getting it done,” said Navaneelan. “We do everything ourselves; we don’t hand over the cash. The cost is kept low so we can achieve more.”

The board is also grateful to its new media partner, TC Media/Seaway News, said Oxley-Harper.

“TC media has been a huge part of this,” said Oxley-Harper. “Rick Shaver, general manager, for TC Media/Seaway News, has stepped forward and become the media partner. Our pre-event publicity was beyond what we had hoped for. We look forward to this partnership continuing for many years.

Organizers were hoping to match last year’s amount raised of $125,000. For further information about the charity visit www.rachelskids.com.

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