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Serge of support for crime prevention on the Peninsula
A fundraiser that supports community policing programs in White Rock and South Surrey takes place next week at the Morgan Creek Golf Course.
Just a few tickets remain for the popular event, but as the area's population continues to grow, officials say funds raised at the annual Red Serge Reception & Auction are becoming ever-more important.
"A lot of people don't realize that we don't get any taxation revenue," Darren Alexander, chair of the Semiahmoo Volunteer Community Police Society, said. "This is the only fundraiser that we have."
The gala – in its 21st year – is the key funding source for nearly two dozen community policing programs, from Business Watch and Speed Watch to mature-driver courses and drug awareness education for young students.
Volunteers are at the heart of all of them, and the gala is what enables them to continue operating, generating the funds that purchase the necessary equipment, supplies and other gear. The society also funds training of auxiliary constables.
White Rock RCMP Const. Janelle Shoihet agreed awareness of what the gala supports appears to have declined. In an effort to help change that, she has created and narrated a four-minute YouTube video detailing the various crime prevention efforts. It is already online and will be shown to gala guests.
"Those people you see out in the green jackets… it all comes back to this one event," Shoihet said of the volunteers. "I think that that link's really been lost.
"If we didn't have that funding we could do some programs, but certainly not 20 programs like we do now."
This year's Red Serge gala is set for Wednesday, Sept. 11, and is to include live and silent auctions, tapas, a cash bar, entertainment, 50/50 tickets and "long arm of the law" draw tickets. The latter offer a chance to win a diamond pendant donated to the cause by Jose & Co. Custom Jewellers.
Proceeds from the soiree – it grossed $42,000 last year; $55,000 in 2011 – will be split between the White Rock and South Surrey community policing units.
Since inception, the gala has raised more than $500,000 for community policing programs.
Alexander said sponsors interested in getting involved in the 2014 gala may contact him at 778-772-8271.
Tickets to this year's event ($125) are available through the society's website (www.volunteerpolicing.org) or by calling 604-536-8759 or 604-536-8771.