Family benefit dance draws bigger crowd, supports those in need
Families from around the St. Paul area welcomed the New Year together, as they celebrated at the New Year’s Eve Family Benefit Dance.
The dance, held at the St. Paul Rec. Centre, raises funds for families in the community who have been dealing with hardship. It also offers the chosen recipients the chance to say thank-you, while socializing and celebrating with other community members.
This year’s dance saw the highest guest turnout to date, with 261 people in attendance.
The dance featured a lunch at 10 p.m., as well as dancing to the music of The Torpedoes, a band made up of musicians from St. Paul, Lac La Biche, and Derwent.
“The reception from everyone involved is great,” said Maggie Cartier, the communication coordinator and treasurer with the St. Paul and Community Family Benefit Committee. “The guests are impressed with the silent auction items, and donations. They were saying ‘You guys have a lot of stuff here.’ It’s awesome.”
Families were introduced and honoured at the benefit, and children in attendance enjoyed the dance portion of the event.
“The kids are having a heyday tonight,” said Cartier, adding, “The dance is bigger, better, and we’re thankful for being able to use the Rec. Centre, which is a bigger better location that can accommodate the growth we’ve seen.”
“It’s really nice to see everyone here,” said Caitlin Forry, one of the recipients of the Family Benefit, who attended the dance with her daughter Avah. “I am very grateful for the support, and am having a blast . . . Normally I’m nervous at these kinds of things, but I’m comfortable, and around friends here.”
Verena Albrecht, another recipient of this year’s benefit said she was “really impressed with the support, and with everyone getting along, even the kids . . . It’s like being at a family reunion, seeing kids dancing with other kids, and everyone having a good time.”
Melissa Deschamps, another recipient of the benefit, said the benefit was “good and family oriented. I just think it’s good that there was a dance, a get-together where everyone who came together to help people can be appreciated for helping these families.”
She added, “It’s good to live in such a caring supportive community.”
Terra-Lee Gratton, of the last recipient family, agreed that the event was fun, and very organized.
This year’s benefit raised a total of $28,271, which is an increase of $5000 from last year’s benefit. On Jan. 3, the benefit committee presented the families with the funds raised, with each family receiving $7067.