True North hosts annual formal gala

True North, formerly the Wheatland Crisis Society, hosted their annual formal gala, Sept. 30, at the Heritage Barn in Strathmore.

The event serves as True North’s largest single fundraiser of the year, raising money to support the organization’s initiatives and facilities. This year’s event was black and white themed, inviting the community to dress formally for the occasion, and to enjoy a performance of dueling pianos.

“We’ve been here for 30 years, and unfortunately, we’re still in business. And so, it’s really about continuing to raise that awareness and how important it is to support the organization in our community,” said Carol Manson McLeod, executive director of True North. “In addition to the awareness side, it allows us to come together as a community to talk about domestic violence … (and) it allows us to come together as a community, celebrate, and enjoy each other’s company as well.”

She added a significant number of attendees who came to the gala were direct supporters of True North by way of committing time or finances to aiding their efforts.

Approximately 120 people came out to participate in the gala, the venue for which was donated for the evening by Bruce Klaiber.

“We’ve been a crisis shelter, so we look after both men and women who are mostly experiencing domestic violence. And we provide them (with) a short-term stay for up to three weeks. Right now, because housing is so difficult, people are staying longer. But really (we) help to get them on that road to recovery to be able to rebuild their lives,” said Manson McLeod. “Our goal and one of the things that we’re hoping to do as well, we have purchased some land, and we want to be able to build some affordable housing. So, we’re starting to save, or to have money in order to be able to do that project as well.”

She added one of the tremendous challenges clients of True North face is the financial stress of attempting to rebuild their lives, in addition to the personal detriment which comes with needing to escape an abusive relationship and household.

For those who are experiencing domestic violence, True North is open 24/7, with resources to get in touch with the team available through their website.

True North also intends to bring back its Christmas programming later in the year to support the community during that holiday season, but is otherwise looking forward to next year’s events and opportunities.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times