July 25th, 2024

Streets Alive ringing in the Roaring ’20s for annual benefit


By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 28, 2022.

Herald photo by Nicholas Allen The Director of Fund Development at Streets Alive Mission, Jennifer Lepko, with the "Dinner in a box" available to those unable to attend the Sapphire Benefit Dinner

The annual benefit dinner for a local organization is going back in time.
The Golden Sapphire Benefit Dinner for Streets Alive Mission on April 29 will include a 1920’s themed dinner and music, silent auction and raffles. Those in attendance are encouraged to dress up for the occasion in “glad rags” according to the promotional poster for the event.
Funds raised from the Golden Sapphire Benefit Dinner go towards supporting the ongoing needs of those facing poverty in Lethbridge by providing them with a safe location, water, food, clothing, and connection.
The Director of Fund Development at Streets Alive Mission, Jennifer Lepko, said that inspiration for the event came from recognizing parallels such as the pandemic and the recovery from the economic impact of Spanish Flu in the 1920’s and COVID-19 today.
“There was just a lot of parallels with what was happening back then and to what’s happening now…. In a way we want to look back at that and look at how far we’ve come in the past hundred years,” said Lepko, “We can still bring hope and you know what, that’s the whole vision of Streets Alive is to bring hope.”
Lepko said trying to get all the funds together to be able to look after the city’s most vulnerable is difficult and they need support from the community in doing that.
“Streets Alive relies significantly on our community to fund the programs that we provide. We are not a big organization, so we’re about 90 per cent community [funded],” she said.
Without the ability to hold in-person events for the past two years, Lepko said this event is about being able to gather and give people an experience to enjoy. There are no restrictions on venue capacity, but according to Lepko, they want to keep it relatively small and socially distanced to respect people still concerned about the pandemic.
Lepko said those that are unable to attend the Sapphire Benefit Dinner are encouraged to purchase a box with a $75 restaurant gift card and an assortment of related items. The cost to purchase the box is $250 with a $125 tax rebate included in the purchase. A cost relatively low compared to the daily operations of the Streets Alive Mission, according to Lepko.
“Our own costs in a day are close to $5,000 a day. It goes up and down obviously… and over 90 per cent of those costs are provided by our community,” she said. “But as with everybody, the increased costs of groceries, the increased costs of utilities, the increased costs of everything, those costs have gone up significantly for the organization as well.”
Lepko has hopes the event will raise a quarter million dollars but anything over $100,000 is above the goal the organization has in place.
The evening will feature guest entertainers and a Ford Model T for pictures.
More information regarding the Sapphire Benefit Dinner is available on the Streets Alive Mission website.

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