The Native Sons Hall was full Thursday night as people came out in support of the Helping Hands Benefit Concert. Photo by Craig Carson.

Commen-Terry: Comox Valley shows its generosity with Helping Hands

Benefit concert in support of flood victims an overwhelming success

The Comox Valley community deserves a collective round of applause for the outpouring of support shown Thursday evening at the Helping Hands Benefit Concert.

The event was an overwhelming success.

When Doug Cox and I conceived the idea for a benefit concert to help the victims of the Mariner Apartment flood, our only thought was to do what we could to help out some fellow Comox Valley residents in need.

As Vancouver Island MusicFest executive producer, Doug looked after booking the entertainment.

His “go to”sound company, Sound Advice, supplied the PA system for the evening.

His MusicFest management team, Marcy Jaster and Cresslyn Brodhagen, looked after all the manpower needed to help set up, operate, and tear down afterwards. Marcy and Cresslyn called upon the MusicFest “volunteer army,” and that aspect of the event was covered.

Ihos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson brought in a team of her own to look after the concession.

Ian MacLean spent every free moment he had plastering the poster in windows and shop walls everywhere within a 50-kilometre radius.

Businesses and residents from throughout the Comox Valley and beyond supplied an incredible slate of silent auction items.

All the planning was in place. But there was an underlying nervousness among all the organizers on Thursday afternoon.

We had done all we could to promote and prepare. The rest was up to you. The success of the event was contingent on attendance at Native Sons Hall Thursday night.

Mind blown.

I suppose I should have “rested easy,” considering the pre-event response from people.

Not only was I receiving calls, texts and emails every day offering to help, but the trust fund set up at the Coastal Community Credit Union (Mariner Apartment Flood Victims’ Trust, #799490) had more than $2,000 in it before the event even took place.

By Friday morning, it had a lot more.

When Doug and I first discussed the idea of a fundraiser, there was a crowdfunding page on the go. It had raised approximately $4,500. We thought, if all went well, we could double that amount. We put a “hopeful” target of $5,500… to make it a $10,000 total.

Donations at the door alone Thursday night exceeded $5,500.

The 50/50 draws added another $600 to the total, and the concession, which was cost-free, thanks to donations from Quality Foods (sandwiches), Costco (beverages), the Cumberland Hotel (coffee/tea) and Child’s Play Physiotherapy (chips) made more than $500.

Then there was the silent auction.

There are still a few bids to be reconciled, but the silent auction made more than $8,000.

All told, as of Sunday morning, the Mariner Apartment Victims’ Trust held $16,756.49.

Add to that the $4,510 from the gofundme page, and the victims will be receiving somewhere in the vicinity of $1,330 apiece.

The trust fund will be split evenly, 16 ways – one share per unit affected. (It was discovered last week that the reason the tenant from Suite #113 could not be reached is that there is no Suite 113 on the ground floor.)

What does $1,350 mean to the people we helped? For many of them, that amount represents more than what they bring home every month from their respective jobs. And while many of them are still struggling to find permanent lodging, what this money will do is help them replace their beds, furniture items, clothing and electronic equipment lost in the flood.

Their troubles are far from over. But thanks to the caring people of the Comox Valley, they have fewer troubles than they had a week ago.

Well played, Comox Valley. Well played, indeed.



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

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Terry Farrell is the editor at the Comox Valley Record

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