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White Rock dinner-dance to benefit high-protein food bank

May 25 event supports facility honouring late artist Djaef Mahler
A fundraiser to benefit a Surrey food bank that was established more than two decades ago in honour of late artist Djaef Mahler – who died in 1990 of complications from HIV/AIDS – is set for May 25, 2024 in White Rock. (Contributed photos)

A fundraiser to benefit a high-protein food bank in Surrey that supports individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C is set for May 25 at the Elks Hall in White Rock.

Proceeds from the dinner-dance will go to the Djaef Mahler Food Bank.

Located at 10697 135A St., the food bank was named to honour Mahler’s commitment to supporting people living with HIV/AIDS.

Described as a talented and prolific artist in Vancouver and Toronto, Mahler grew up in Delta. He was just 33 years old when he died in 1990, of complications from AIDS.

His mother Julie – a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident – said she started the Djaef Mahler AIDS Benefit Society the year prior to her son’s death.

“I didn’t know at the time that he had AIDS, but I saw his friends and I was so horrified by everything,” she recalled Friday (May 17).

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“So I started this small charity in a warehouse. We raised about $1,000, which we gave to the AIDS society in Vancouver.”

Julie Mahler ran the society until 2004, when her husband fell ill. Now 92, she was moved to organize this weekend’s fundraiser after her granddaughter mentioned recognizing her uncle’s name on the food-bank facility.

Opened in 2001, it is one of the health services offered by the Lookout Housing and Health Society, which supports adults who have challenges meeting basic needs.

“It’s a really neat facility,” the senior said. “I’ve been there, and I’m really impressed with what they are doing.”

Saturday’s event at the Elks Hall (1469 George St. ) will feature four-piece band Brandall, playing music of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. For tickets ($40), call 604-506-7320 or 604-376-3208.

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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