Couples can enjoy a romantic Valentine’s date night and support a cause at the Agape Thrift Store and Community Outreach’s first annual Helping Hearts Gala on Feb. 10.
The event will take place at the Nisku Recreation Centre. Cocktails start at 6 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and dancing and a silent auction will follow.
The gala is a black tie event and there will be a cash bar.
The Agape Thrift Store and Community Outreach in Wetaskiwin is a non-profit organization run by executive director Kate Halas.
Sales from the thrift store are used to fund her community outreach work.
Halas opened the store two years ago in response to the oil industry collapse. She heard numerous cases of people having to move or losing their homes. “People couldn’t afford to keep their lifestyles because they didn’t have jobs.”
When she heard of people eating dog food just to survive, she realized it was time to step up.
“I thought, ‘Enough, something needs to be done.’”
The sales from the store are the only funding she receives, and the thrift store gives away a lot of clothing and furniture for free, she said.
Halas has helped victims of abuse, both male and female, who are looking to start over, as well as the homeless.
Halas said she doesn’t ask for proof that a person is homeless, there is just a form they sign to acknowledge they received an item free of charge.
She helped victims of the Fort McMurray fire, when people re-located to the Wetaskiwin area and needed items while waiting for assistance from their insurance or the Red Cross.
“We kind of filled that gap for them.”
She also gives away $10 gift cards to fast food restaurants to those needing a meal.
Halas decided to organize the gala because the needs of the community just keep growing.
“The requirements are becoming greater, in terms of helping people, but our income isn’t.”
All proceeds from the event will go towards the costs of the programming offered by Agape Community Outreach and operating costs of the Agape Thrift Store.
Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.ca, by e-mail transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at the thrift store. Only 120 tickets will be sold.
Those who would like to make a donation will receive a tax receipt. Items for the silent auction are also being accepted.