The annual Diwali Dinner hosted by the East Meets West Children’s Foundation is less than a month away, and this year, for the first time, the organization has given more locally than overseas.
The dinner is the major fundraiser for East Meets West and takes place Saturday, October 21, at the Parkinson Recreation Centre. This year, more than ever before, the organization saw the need in the Okanagan balloon.
“Maybe it’s a sign that things are tough,” says founder and chairperson Mohini Singh. “Even charities are having a difficult time raising money and we know how difficult that can be. So, we not only are sending money overseas, but we’re giving to programs right here.”
The most recent donation was more than $15,000 for the Kelowna Child Advocacy Centre, to support counselling for children who have been sexually abused.
Other local recipients include Julia’s Junction, and inclusive playground in West Kelowna, Karis Support Society, which helps women struggling with addiction, and Star Bright Children’s Development Centre. East Meets West also joined forces with a local dental clinic to offer free checkups and cleanings and electric toothbrushes to over 80 children in the Okanagan.
In previous years, the bulk of the charity’s efforts have been dedicated to providing medical and educational assistance to children in India and other parts of the world.
Singh says that charities are struggling because the high cost of living means people aren’t able to donate as much as they might have in the past. “We are just doing our to help programs that serve the needs of children in our region so children who need help get it.”
She says the philosophy of the East Meets West Children’s Foundation is “We can’t change the world but we can change the world of the children we help.”
Last year the Diwali Dinner raised close to $140,000. Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased here.