Black tie and beans for Chilliwack Restorative Justice

Chilliwack Restorative Justice is holding the inaugural Blacktie Beanfest Variety Show on March 29 at Evergreen Hall.

Just because black tie is in the title, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a dressed-to-the-nines affair.

The Blacktie Beanfest Variety Show on March 29 is the inaugural fundraiser for Chilliwack Restorative Justice, and it’s more Southern-style Elvis than Royals dressup.

It’s black tie with a twist, said Kathy Funk, executive director.

The attire is fancy up top, denim down below. And the food, well, keeping with the Elvis theme, it’s a southern style buffet featuring such belly warming eats as pulled pork sliders and Elvis’ beloved baked beans.

“It’s not about the dinner, it’s about the amazing variety show,” said Funk. “It’s about sitting back and being entertained.”

‘Essence of Elvis’ Jeff Bodner will be performing, as will hypnotist Lee Dyson. There’s going to be a live auction, 50/50 draw, sweet station, photo booth, and more.

The fundraiser is a must for the organization.

Chilliwack Restorative Justice and Youth Advocacy Association receives some funding from the City and the provincial government, but not enough to keep up with its growing demand.

The predominantly volunteer-based organization works with first-time offenders in helping them understand the impact of their actions on the community, the victim, the family and themselves through restorative justice practices, in the hopes of keeping them from becoming repeat offenders.

Chilliwack has the second most caseloads in the province.

“At this stage, we can’t keep up with the volume coming our way,” said Funk. “We really need funds.”

Most of the offenders that the organization works with are either bored youth engaging in vandalism and petty theft, or adults and seniors who have fallen on hard times.

Young moms. The working poor. Seniors on low-paying pensions.

“Out of desperation they try to walk out of a store with an item that’s predominantly a food item,” said Funk.

“These people have sincerely fallen on tough times. It doesn’t justify their behaviour, and we make sure they know that. But at the same time, they feel desperate and they don’t realize the services available to them.”

Chilliwack Restorative Justice helps connect their clients with community services.

“People don’t realize how impactful this program really is,” said Funk.

She hopes the Blacktie Beanfest will open their eyes.

The event is on March 29 at Evergreen Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 each or a table of 10 for $350.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 604-393-3022 or email bigginrestorejustice@gmail.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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