For 50 years, the Victoria Cool Aid Society has played a key role in working to end homelessness across the Capital Region. So to celebrate the non-profit is hosting a party, and in true fashion, turning it into a fundraiser.
This Saturday (May 26) the red carpet is rolling out at Ship Point, where a transparent tent will perch on the edge of the wharf for a full view of the Inner Harbour, the sunset and the stars.
”We wanted to have a very special event in a special location,” says Alan Rycroft, community relations manager for Cool Aid. “It’s going to be pretty spectacular.”
The “Cool Aid House,” with an impromptu living room, dining room and den, is designed for mingling in a casual atmosphere with food from Ruby’s, local beverages, and music from a Victoria Conservatory of Music jazz quartet and rock band Rukus.
“It helps us keep some programs open that we’d otherwise have to shut down,” Rycroft says of the event.
Along with an auction, 50 framed photos from Cool Aid’s history will be for sale. In the early days, Cool Aid primarily served youth out of just one building. Now with a staff of 300, working in 17 buildings, including the Downtown Community Centre on Pandora Avenue, Rycroft considers Cool Aid “quite a large and necessary part of social services in Victoria.”
Historic displays and videos will feature some of the work the non-profit has done over the years, as well as opportunities to learn more about the organization, which for decades has supported and advocated for those who have or are experiencing life on the streets.
While Cool Aid does receive some funding from the three levels of government, it’s not enough, Rycroft says. Maintaining services like the labour pool and dental program comes at a cost, as does keeping people out of the cycle of homelessness.
“We’ll use some of the money to build new housing, which is a real priority for Cool Aid. We are actively looking at some properties and [they] don’t come cheap. This money would likely be used for a down payment for a new property.”
All proceeds from the gala will go directly toward supporting Cool Aid Society’s programs and services. As well, all donations from the event will be matched by longtime philanthropic supporter Andrew Beckman, up to $25,000.
“Cool Aid saves lives each and every day,” Rycroft says.
For more details, or to purchase tickets for Homecoming, visit CoolAid.org.