Helping Hands Harvest Gala to benefit victims of crime

On Nov. 9, Blackfalds & District Victim Services will be holding its second annual Helping Hands Harvest Gala at the Black Knight Inn

On Nov. 9, Blackfalds & District Victim Services will be holding its second annual Helping Hands Harvest Gala at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer.

After a few years of doing a golf tournament as its annual fundraiser, Blackfalds & District Victim Services decided to try doing a gala event instead in hopes of reaching more people and thereby promoting awareness even further.

“That’s the key element,” said Karie Ackermann, assistant coordinator. “If people are aware, then if they need us, they know where to fi nd us.”

Ackermann went on to say that raising funds for the organization and promoting awareness go hand in hand.

“I think it’s equally important to raise awareness as well as raise the necessary funds for our program,” said Ackermann.

No one knows if or when they will become the victim of a crime, said Ackermann. As such it is important to have programs like Victim Services to help get people through such diffi cult times, even if the hope is that their services will never be needed, she added.

“At any given time you can be a victim of crime or tragedy,” said Ackermann. “Nobody plans to be a victim.”

Singer/songwriter Randi Boulton will be performing at the gala as the evening’s entertainment.

Artist Lewis Lavoie, well known for his mosaic murals, will also be in attendance. There will also be live and silent auctions.

Victim Services works closely with RCMP and therefore RCMP members will also be present dressed in the ceremonial red surge. Ackermann said there will be a photo booth set up and there will even be three members dressed in past RCMP uniforms to celebrate the 100 years of the RCMP.

It is hard to describe what exactly Blackfalds & District Victim Services does for the community it serves, as its mandate is to serve victims of crime of any kind.

Victims of all kinds of crimes like break and enters, child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence may receive assistance from Victim Services.

For example, in an instance of domestic abuse, one of the most common crimes that Blackfalds & District Victim Services deals with, Victim Services might work with a local women’s shelter to have a space set up for that victim.

With break and enters, another common crime in the area, Victim Services might provide information to a business on how to work with businesses to show them what can be done to avoid looking like an ‘easy target’ for a break-in.

Providing information, referrals and support to victims of crime are the three key pillars of what Victim Services does, said Ackermann.

She added that Victim Services will work with victims as long as required in each individual case.

This could take hours or years depending on the case, she continued.

The Helping Hands Harvest Gala will be held at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer on Nov. 9 beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $75 each or a table of eight for $600 and are available through Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre, by calling Karie Ackermann at 403-392-2412 or the Victim Support Society at 403-885-3355. Today (Nov. 7) is the last day tickets will be available for purchase.