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SOS Impact Makers Gala raises $82,000 for PQB seniors

Funds will help area seniors age in place
Tom Jackson, renowned Canadian actor, musician, activist and Companion of the Order of Canada performed at the SOS Impact Makers Gala on June 7, helping raise money for vulnerable seniors in the community.

More than 120 local impact makers helped SOS raise $82,000 at the organization’s inaugural Impact Makers Gala on June 7.

The event, presented by Society of Organized Services (SOS), was a success, raising money to support vulnerable seniors in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region. The funds will help seniors age in place, stay connected with others, and receive financial support during emergencies.

"The turnout was great, and the entertainment was spectacular,” said Susanna Newton, SOS executive director. “Every dollar from the gala goes to SOS programs that support our local seniors, so thank you to our community, the sponsors and everyone who came to the gala and participated in the silent auction and raffle.”

The Impact Makers Gala, hosted at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre, began with welcome bubbles and appetizers while jazz musician Gary Lovell wowed the crowd with his vocals. As guests mingled, they bid on 27 silent auction packages that lined Tigh-Na-Mara’s lobby.

Once the ballroom doors opened, past SOS director Don Dempson and Chief Michael Recalma of Qualicum First Nation gave opening remarks and then guests indulged in a gourmet dinner. After dessert, the crowd enjoyed the headliner, Tom Jackson, a renowned Canadian actor, musician, activist, and Companion of the Order of Canada.

Jackson currently stars in the popular television series 'Sullivan’s Crossing' and is widely recognized for his folk-pop music, which reflects his talents as a songwriter, singer and activist.

Jackson began his performance by telling the audience he loved and appreciated them and thanked SOS for supporting seniors in the community. Jackson played original music as well as popular songs like 'Dance with the Devil', 'Save the Last Dance for Me' and the audience sang along to 'Oh Susanna'.

At the end of the evening, Jackson held a meet-and-greet with audience members, and the line stretched across the ballroom. The interactions with Jackson were filled with laughs, hugs and picture-perfect moments.

The $82,000 raised includes cash sponsorships, raffle proceeds, charitable donations, ticket sales and donated auction items and services. Gloria Stewart, SOS resource development manager, added: “We’ve been planning our inaugural Impact Makers Gala since December. We wanted to celebrate our community and its impact makers, and at the same time continue to make an impact and have a fun evening.”

MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, Adam Walker, agreed it was a fantastic evening.

“Every day, I hear from seniors struggling to afford a comfortable life, and it is inspiring to see SOS step up significantly to ensure vulnerable people can access vital services and resources,” he said. “I look forward to attending next year’s event.”

SOS is a non-profit organization that has many free and subsidized programs for seniors which help them stay in their own homes longer, provide emergency and advocacy support as well as social opportunities.

A senior who recently attended Seniors Connecting said SOS programs improve their mental health during a time in life that can feel isolating.

“We are all seniors together. Many people out there make it seem like we don’t exist sometimes, so Seniors Connecting is a chance for us to eat together, be together, and have fun together.”

For more information about SOS programs for seniors, or other SOS programs, visit