After witnessing some of the horrifying images from last week's devastating earthquake in Haiti, many Canadians have been inspired to make donations to aid organizations to assist in relief efforts. But a group of Whistler residents has been inspired to take things one step further and hold a special event in hopes of raising even more money for the people of Haiti.
Tim Livingstone, a well-known local DJ, already had a gig booked at Tommy Africa's on Sunday, Jan. 24, but after seeing that a few restaurants were donating a percentage of sales towards Haiti relief efforts, he decided to transform his show into a fundraising event.
"It's just horrific what they're going through down there and it's just like a different reality," he said. "Up here, there's almost no way to relate to how bad it is down there."
Rather than just make a private donation to an aid organization, Livingstone decided to try and tap into a bigger pool of donations by hosting an event; getting people out to party, while raising money for the cause.
The Canadian government will be matching contributions made to eligible Canadian charitable organizations in support of recovery efforts in Haiti, up to a total of $50 million. That means that any money that is raised at the Tommy's event will be doubled. Livingstone is hoping that they can bring in about $3,000, which would mean they could send $6,000 for aid efforts.
He approached the management at the club and they were receptive to the idea of giving all proceeds from the door to the Canadian Red Cross.
"I went and talked to a few local businesses to see if they would be interested in donating some silent auction or raffle prizes and the response has just been amazing," Livingstone said.
Goods and services donated so far include activities with Powder Mountain Catskiing, Outdoor Adventures and Whistler Bungee, gift certificates to an assortment of local restaurants and merchandise from many local retailers, as well as a print from local painter Chili Thom, entitled Dawn of Hope.
Livingstone will be DJing, spinning a seamless set of funk, house and disco, so don't expect this night to be a downer - Help for Haiti will be a feel-good party and fundraiser. He's also hoping to produce and sell a special CD for the event, with all proceeds from sales going to the Red Cross.
Cover will be by donation, with more tickets to the raffle given to people who make larger donations at the door. The party starts at 9:30 p.m., with prizes being given away throughout the night.