When all was said and done Tuesday night, after all the songs were song, all the donations counted, and all the sponsors and participants thanked, close to $137,000 had been raised for Basics for Babies.
The amount, while just shy of last year’s tally, still impressed co-hosts Dallas Smith and Chad Brownlee, two friends and fellow country music stars who have been putting on this event for the past half dozen years.
And yes, the total brought the Basics for Babies coordinator Terra Paredes to the verge of tears – again.
“It gives us an opportunity to feed a whole heck of a lot of babies,” she said Tuesday, explaining that all the money raised at this year’s golf tournament and evening concert (including a literal last minute anonymous donation of $10,000) goes to feeding babies not just in the Lower Mainland anymore, but throughout the province.
“It’s for the babies,” Paredes shouted into the microphone, a phrase that has become her mantra in recent years.
When Basics started 24 years ago, it took care of babies at one food bank in Vancouver. “Then we expanded to 11…,” she explained. And then, two years ago, it expanded to all of B.C.
“Guess what?” she told to the crowd spread out in lawn chairs and on blankets in the grassy knoll before the stage, “You’re feeding all the babies in B.C. And I’m just going to leave it at that, because that’s incredible, and it’s all thanks to you.”
Before a record crowd of 900 at the Boys of Fall concert, she unveiled a mock giant cheque for $136,850.
“That’s awesome,” she repeated a few times. “That’s truly awesome.”
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One hundred and forty eight golfers – several of them celebrities or local influencers – surrounded the putting green, took aim, and failed (each and every one of them) to sink their ball in the mega putt contest.
Despite that, spirits were high as those same golfers then saddled up in their carts and scattered onto the links at Redwoods Golf Course Tuesday for an afternoon on the links.
Who couldn’t be happy on a day like today, said Langley’s country music star Dallas Smith, as he and fellow country singer Chad Brownlee kicked off the annual Boys of Fall Charity Golf Tournament.
The event, started by the pair six years ago, has raised close to half a million dollars for the Basics for Babies program, and their goal this year is to generate another $140,000 or more.
“It’s actually amazing every year, the same sponsors and the same people come back again, and again, and again to support Basics for Babies,” Brownlee added.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable… We look forward to it every year.”
Smith recalled the first year of the tournament, when they cracked $15,000 and were pleased with that windfall. Last year, the tournament and subsequent evening concert raised more than $143,000 for the cause.
“It shows how quickly this grew and how much all the support has helped,” said Smith, who lives nearby in Walnut Grove.
It’s the “perfect way” to raise money for the babies, “because everyone here just believes in the cause so much,” said Terra Paredes, program director for JRfm and coordinator of Basics for Babies.
She called this her favourite fundraiser of the year, and said she’s impressed that one event could raised close to $500,000 in just five years.
Basics for Babies is a program that collects donations of cash, diapers, formula, baby food, and other supplies for newborns and infants, and distributes those to families in need through sanctioned food banks around B.C.
Anxious to boost the fundraising component for the Boys of Fall event, the boys threw down a challenge Tuesday morning.
Anyone who walked in and donated $500 to the cause today would receive four tickets to the boy’s outdoor concert starting at 7:30 tonight at Redwoods.
The concert has been sold out for more than a month, but Smith said room could be found for anyone willing to help raise more serious money for the babies.
The boys will be joined on stage tonight by friend and fellow country singing sensation Tim Hicks. Hick and his wife, Amanda, flew in from St. Catharine’s, Ont. just for this occasion.
“I wanted to be a part of this for the last few years, but we weren’t able to make the dates work,” Hicks explained.
“I just came out and take part in this, and get to play, and sing a little bit later, and play some golf, all in the name of raising money for babies around here seemed like a good cause,” he added.
Admittedly, Hicks is not a golfer.
“This will be the third time in my entire life that I’ve actually swung a club. The first two times were also at charity golf tournaments,” he confessed. “I’m here to sing, not play golf. But I’m going to play today. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”