Bereaved Families Annual Gala Raises Funds for Children’s Programs

Shannon Ferguson, Special to TC Media
Bereaved Families Annual Gala Raises Funds for Children’s Programs
Event organizers of the 16th Annual BFO Gala Dinner with employees from sponsor Scotiabank. From left to right: Sheila Youmelle (Scotiabank)

CORNWALL, Ontario – It was far from a solemn evening at the annual Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO) Gala Dinner held at the Best Western Parkway Inn on Saturday, September 17, as the community gathered to raise funds for one of the organization’s most prominent programs.

In its 16th year, the gala which began in 2001, is a dedicated fundraiser that supports the BFO’s Children and Youth Bereavement Services within Cornwall and area.

Event organizer and past BFO president, Rachelle Lamond, explained “Children need a lot of support when they lose someone they love, so the funds raised at this gala go directly towards programs that help them cope and to bring in new programs for them, as well.”

Those in attendance ranged from event sponsors, to prominent community members, to those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one and used the services provided by BFO.

“A lot of people that come out are members or people who have gotten help from Bereaved Families when they lost somebody, so we all really work together to make it a good night,” said Lamond.

Scotiabank was a major sponsor of the event and employee Cindy Picard opened up about why the BFO services are so important.

“The programs that Bereaved Families offer really give people the opportunity to have someone else to talk to and share their feelings with, outside of family and friends who they may not want to burden.”

Added Picard “We’re very proud to be a major sponsor and a part of this gala, especially with all the proceeds going specifically towards counselling for children’s programs”.

The evening consisted of a four course dinner followed by lively entertainment by singer, comedian, and impersonator James Kirkham, who had the crowd laughing and singing along for his entire performance.

“A night like this shows people that life goes on and sometimes you have to get involved in different groups and programs to be able to continue living the life you want to live. It shows that it’s still possible to have some fun and enjoy a night out,” said Lamond.

Bereaved Families of Ontario-Cornwall offers free services and programs to those struggling through the grieving process, with a focus on Bereavement Services for Adults, Children/Youth and Survivors of Suicide.

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