SLIDESHOW: A Christmas tea steeped in tradition

Annual fundraiser for Langley Christmas Bureau has become a staple on the community’s holiday season calendar

It was a rare opportunity to dress up and put on a fancy hat, and many of the hundreds who attended the fifth annual Thank You for Caring Christmas tea fundraiser at the Cascades Casino Resort in support of the Langley Christmas Bureau did exactly that.

Also known as the Mayors’ Wives Tea, the fundraising event was started by Debbie Froese, whose husband happens to be Township Mayor Jack Froese and Charlene Fassbender, wife of former City Mayor Peter Fassbender.

This year, Froese and Jean Schaffer, whose husband is current City Mayor Ted Schaffer, hosted the 2016 edition.

“The generosity of our community is wonderful,” Froese told the Times.

“I love seeing the families, the mothers, the daughters, the granddaughters (taking part),” Froese added.

This year, there were 500 tickets available at $25 each and they quickly sold out.

Between that, and the revenue from a silent action of donated items and even the sale of “fascinators” — headgear for those who forgot to bring their own, Schaffer expects the total amount raised will be up from the previous year, which raised about $32,000.

“I’ll be surprised if it isn’t” Schaffer said.

“It was a beautiful day, and it was all for a good cause.”

Schaffer said she had worked as a volunteer on the fundraiser before her husband became mayor.

Steve ‘Elvis’ Elliot entertained the capacity crowd, while speakers included a pair of Langley Secondary students.

In an often emotional address, the teenage girls, who are members of the City’s Karen community, told the crowd about their arrival in Canada after having spent their early years in a refugee camp on the border of their native Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand.

It was thanks to the Langley Christmas Bureau, they said, that they and their families were able to enjoy their first holiday seasons in Canada as they struggled to adjust to their new life.

Money from the fundraiser will go to the Christmas Bureau hamper fund, which provides food for families in need.

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