Tea time supports bureau

A forest of fascinators dotted the ballroom at Langley’s Cascades Casino Sunday as the Thank You For Caring tea got underway.

The whole event was a fundraiser for the Langley Christmas Bureau, which collects toys and Christmas hampers for families that can’t afford to buy gifts at the holidays.

The annual event is also known as the Mayors’ Wives Tea, organized this year by Jean Schaffer of Langley City and Debbie Froese of Langley Township.

The duo found a huge number of people eager to come back after last year’s successful Thank You For Caring Tea.

“We almost sold out two weeks before the event,” said Schaffer.

The event saw 500 people gather in their finest duds for tea, a luncheon, and entertainment.

There was also a great deal of community support even before the event began.

Sarah Rind donated a jewelry package of a sterling silver necklace, bracelet and earings from the Sky Phoenix Wild Star collection, valued at $2,000.

The prize was distributed through Christmas crackers, one of which contained a ticket for the jewelry.

Frostings Bakery donated the desserts and other businesses also provided goods.

Before the festivities commenced, there was a reminder about the good cause behind the tea and cupcakes.

“We’re probably the only business in town that doesn’t want its numbers to go up every year,” noted event MC Jim McGregor as he welcomed the crowd.

But numbers are up, said Leigh Castron, who is one of the main bureau organizers along with McGregor.

At this time last year, 305 families had registered with the Christmas bureau. There are already more than 400 registered for 2014, and 70 of the families are new to the charity.

Castron said it does seem demand is going up.

“We certainly do need your help,” she told the assembled crowd.

The event was a success, on both attendance and financial support for the Christmas bureau.

Not only was it sold out, but Castron said the entire event seems to have made more money than in 2013, when it raised $23,000. At press time on Monday, organizers were still counting the proceeds.

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