Event being held in partnership with Society of Saint Vincent de Paul at Delta Prince Edward to raise awareness about poverty
© Guardian photo
Jeremy MacDonald, left, Colours Signs and Print, Judy Barrett, Holy Redeemer Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Father Chris Sherren and organizer Shari Court hold a sign promoting the Spirit of Giving dinner scheduled for the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown Dec. 6.
Lloyd Court was sitting at home during the winter when his son, Sean, came out of his room.
Sean had been reading motivational books to pass the time.
"Dad, people don't know how to pray," Sean said.
"What do you mean by that?" Lloyd asked.
"Well, they pray for world peace, and they pray for the poor, but they don't do anything about it. You have to take action," Sean said.
"You guys helped out in the past, and I know it's been a while, but why don't you put on a dinner this year for the poor?"
Lloyd heard the same thing from more people after Sean brought it up, as he, along with his wife, Shani, had done Christmas fundraising campaigns in the past.
After hearing from their son, Lloyd and Shani decided to take action.
The Courts have organized the Spirit of Giving dinner, which will take place Dec. 6 at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown.
The event is being organized to raise awareness about poverty on Prince Edward Island, and it is being held in partnership with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a global lay Catholic organization established in 1833 with more than 700,000 members worldwide.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul assists those who are less fortunate. The dinner is a non-denominational event and will benefit Islanders based on need with food, clothing and heating oil.
"You don't have to belong to the society to give people hope or to help someone else," said Judy Barrett, president of the conference at Holy Redeemer Parish in Charlottetown, a Saint Vincent de Paul member.
"That's part of being one big family is helping one another."
Seeing the need around different parishes convinced the Courts to organize the dinner, Shani said.
"As a human being, when you see need, it compels you."
The volunteers are always willing to help a person in need, Shani said.
"They try to help people in their area, but if someone comes from somewhere else and they're in need, they'll help them. They don't ask questions."
Having done previous campaigns, the Courts are more inspired to help after an extended absence.
"We're more compelled to help people 365 days a year, because the need never goes away," said Shani.
The evening will feature a keynote speech from Charlottetown Bishop Richard Grecco, who will talk about the Christian response to the poor.
Grecco was happy to take part with the dinner, Shani said.
"He's very pleased that one of the biggest things we're trying to accomplish is to raise awareness for poverty on P.E.I.," she said.
Tickets cost $75, each with a $35 tax credit, and corporate tables are also available.
Donations to each of the four St. Vincent de Paul member parishes on P.E.I. will also be accepted.
Lloyd said the Delta is being very accommodating.
"When they found out why we were putting on the dinner, they helped us out."
The Courts also acknowledged Colours Signs & Print in Summerside, which is doing the promotional material for the dinner.
The dinner will also feature a silent auction, and prize donations are welcomed.
Knowing that they're able to help the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the most rewarding part, Shani said.
"I think the most rewarding thing is to be able to bring more awareness and help them raise their level of membership to help people and raise funds."
Tickets can be purchased from the four parishes, as well as by calling the Courts at 314-5307.