by Todd Lewys
In many instances, having fun can mask a serious purpose.
A prime example is Gimme Shelter, the brainchild of WinnipegREALTORS®.
When the event gets underway at The Met on the evening of April 7, Realtors from across Manitoba and beyond will converge to have a lot of fun. In the process, they will be raising much-needed funds for the Manitoba Real Estate Association’s (MREA) Shelter Foundation.
Gimme Shelter chair Brianne O’Neill said this year’s goal is to build on the success of last year’s event, which was the first to be held at The Met.
“Last year was amazing,” she said. “Everything came together perfectly. The Met was a wonderful partner to work with.
“We had a great volunteer committee led by Amber van den Broek, and, most importantly, we had a great turn out. We raised just over $40,000,” she added.
Just how many Realtors came out to have some fun in support of a great cause?
“A total of 540 tickets were sold, and over 500 REALTORS came out to party at a venue that’s an absolutely remarkable site,” said Roger Burns, the past-chair of the Manitoba Real Estate Association’s (MREA) Shelter Foundation and a founding member of Gimme Shelter.
“Everyone, from the volunteer committee to the staff at The Met came together to do a great job of putting on a wonderful event,” he added.
Burns said the payoff came in November 2016, when 11 different shelter-related organizations (a list is available on the Shelter Foundation’s website: www.mreashelterfoundation.com) received cheques from the Shelter Foundation.
“We were extremely pleased to have been able to present cheques to those 11 different shelter-related organizations,” Burns said. “Every year, those organizations that get grants literally stretch a dime into a dollar, in the process providing outstanding comfort for many people.
“They’re so passionate about what they do. They routinely change lives in their communities, so it was a real pleasure to do what we could to help them out.”
He said that there will be no lack of motivation at this year’s event for one main reason.
“The needs of organizations that provide shelter for people are endless — there are so many organizations worthy of getting help. That’s why the Shelter Foundation provides grants to as many different causes as possible.
“The list of recipients is as varied as the weather, and we, as Realtors, are totally committed to seeing that trend continue,” he added.
With that in mind, some tweaks to this year’s event, which will be held on a Friday night for the first time, have been made in an effort to increase participation — even profits — to an even higher level.
“This year’s event will be a little different than last year’s,” said O’Neill. “To start things off, there will be a red carpet entrance with photographers taking photos of people as they enter The Met.
“As was the case last year, we will be having food bars. The noodle bar (a smash hit last year) will be back, while there will be new fare at the other two bars — pulled pork sliders, and mashed potatoes served up in martini glasses.”
Volunteer committee member Donna Kirsch said the idea was to simplify things to make the event more user-friendly than it was last year.
“There’s going to be more room for the food stations, and more room to mix, mingle and display auction items as we won’t be having casino night,” she said.
“The food will also be out a bit longer, as well.
“Our goal is to just improve on a great event,” she added.
Other event attractions will include dynamic Funk, Soul and R & B cover band, The Solutions, a live auction, Rainbow Auction, caricature artist and candy bar.
Regular admission tickets are $40 each and VIP tickets are $125 each. The Met’s doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and members of the public are invited to attend.
To date, the WinnipegREALTORS®’ Gimme Shelter event has raised over $280,000 for the Manitoba Real Estate Association’s Shelter Foundation.