June 23rd, 2024

Royal Gala tops $1 million mark in support for YWCA Harbour House


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 17, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Leslie Hatfield, founder of the Royal Gala, talks about the humble beginnings of the fundraiser during a cheque presentation to the YWCA Harbour House on Thursday at the YWCA lobby.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The YWCA Harbour House has helped many women and children escape domestic violence and this has been possible in large thanks to community support.
One of the organization’s supporters is Royal LePage, which has been donating to the organization for the last 24 years, amounting to a total of just over a million dollars. On Thursday they presented the YWCA with a cheque for $102,723 from their recent Royal Gala live and silent auction.
“This Gala has impacted approximately 6736 women and 4,012 children over these years,” said Tracy James, YWCA acting CEO to members of Royal LePage in attendance.
It all started 24 years ago with a small gathering at the YWCA gym and a Christmas tree auction that collected $7000, retired Realtor Leslie Hatfield told those in attendance while reminiscing about the humble beginnings of the Royal Gala.
“I remember going into the Herald and asking the fellow if we could have some space in the Herald and told them what it was for, and he said ‘I tell you what, for every ad you put in the paper, I’ll put in one for you free of charge’,” said Hatfield.
She said that unfortunately they did not have any money at the time, so his offer wouldn’t work as they could not pay for even one ad.
“So, I just sat there and kinda looked at him and pretty soon he said ‘whatever you need’,” said Hatfield.
Thanks to that response she says she was able to have three ads in the paper which gave the Royal Gala some community exposure. One at the start of the campaign, one in the middle and one at the end.
Hatfield said of those that donated to the very first auction, almost every one of them has donated every year.
James said there are many services they could not offer at the beginning but are now able to, and Royal LePage contributes to that every year.
“I explained at the gala how much this means to us, at the beginning we weren’t able to give starting out kits, we just didn’t have the money either,” said James.
She said that they were also not able to provide transportation as much as they can now, as well as offering little things like bus tickets.
James said those are things people don’t think of in their daily lives but that women in the shelter need to function on a daily basis.
“We couldn’t do this without you guys, absolutely could not do this without you, so I totally appreciate everything that you have ever done for us,” said James.
She said that it speaks volumes to what in 24 years they have been able to offer women and children who stayed at the shelter and their outreach.
“We now have outreach services, that follow these women if they want us to in the community until they are settled, until they are safe,” said James.
James said the impact the Royal Gala has for YWCA Harbour House provides them with an opportunity to help women and children establish a life they deserve and a life they have dreamed of living.
“It is such a big deal for the YWCA, for them to be able to provide the support and services that they do and we are grateful to have the opportunity to provide that for them,” said Ally Keith, chair of the Royal Gala.
Keith said they had originally set a goal to reach one million dollars at the 24 year mark, but now they have surpassed it and they could not be happier. She said this could not have been possible without Hatfield who started it all.

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Sharkmeister

Well done Leslie.