As the weather grows colder, attention naturally begins to turn to fall, winter and the upcoming holiday season. While much of the future is uncertain, one thing gets clearer by the day; this year’s festive period is going to be very different from those that have gone before.
With the COVID-19 pandemic unleashing both health and economic crises across the globe, demand at food banks is likely to increase this holiday season, so downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts and the Huron Carole have teamed up to help raise awareness and generate support for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank.
The Huron Carole is a seasonal music tradition featuring holiday classics, unique stories, and original music performed by Tom Jackson and award-winning musicians Tom McKillip, Darryl Havers, John MacArthur Ellis, Kirby Barber and Chris “the wrist” Nordquist.
Founded in 1987 by Jackson, the Huron Carole has toured from coast to coast to coast becoming a festive favourite, raising millions and collecting tonnes of food for Canadian food banks. This year, Tom, and his jolly crew, will be travelling across Canada virtually, helping local food banks as they go. They will be performing a digital concert hosted by the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna in support of the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank on Saturday, November 28 via Zoom.
“Under the cloud of these challenging times, I am of the opinion that food banks and those less fortunate in our world are going to be the ones most impacted by the current economic fall-out from COVID-19. This Christmas season is going to be different from any other. It’s going to require us, as individuals and as a society, to look inside ourselves for a light of optimism. A silver lining. We must treasure that light and hang on to that silver lining with all our might”, explains Jackson.
For Jackson, the act of giving comes naturally and spreads easily with his indefatigable energy to be on the look-out for those in need or responding to an unexpected crisis. To date, he has helped coordinate more than $230 million in funds and in-kind services to various charities and relief organizations, volunteers with Calgary’s DOAP Team (Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership), is an Ambassador for the Red Cross, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, received both the JUNO and Gemini Humanitarian Awards in 2007 and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014.
Karma Lacoff Nieoczym, Theatre Programming Coordinator at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, is pleased to be partnering with Jackson and the Huron Carole:
“It’s no secret that 2020 has been a very difficult year for so many people, so when we heard about the opportunity to partner with a great show and help support the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank in the process, we were all in. This show has an extremely high production value, and I know audiences are going to love it. It’s a fantastic festive show and a benefit gig all rolled into one! We hope you’ll join us for the ride.”
Tickets for this renowned concert supporting the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank start at just $20 and can be purchased HERE. Local businesses and groups are invited to purchase group packages by calling the Rotary Centre for the Arts’ Box Office at 250-717-5304. The ticketing fee covers the performance/production costs, and those wishing to make a financial contribution to the Food Bank can do so at the point of purchase. Sarah Martin, Events Coordinator at the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, knows that the support and awareness generated by the show will be invaluable:
“Nearly 5,000 Kelowna and West Kelowna residents access services provided by the Central Okanagan Food Bank every month. In recent weeks, client registration has risen sharply and client usage has increased by almost 27%. Our most vulnerable community members, including children and seniors, are experiencing a heightened risk of food insecurity during this uncertain and challenging season. As a non-government funded non for profit organization, we rely on the generosity of our entire community to help us provide nutritious food to our neighbours in need. Thank you for your support.”
Check out the Huron Carole Virtual Trailer here: